Updated: CHSAA announces details on football seasons
This story was updated at 3:54 p.m. to include comments from Steamboat Springs Athletic Director and CHSAA board member Luke DeWolfe.
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — It’s official. High school football will be played in Colorado this fall. How many and which schools participate are the next questions on the table.
On Thursday afternoon, the Colorado High School Activities Association released specifics on what the fall and spring football seasons would look like. The CHSAA Board of Directors voted late Wednesday night to allow schools to decide whether to play football, field hockey and sideline cheer, three sports that were approved with the new guidelines for organized sports issued by Gov. Jared Polis.
Schools can still choose to play football in Season A — in the fall — or Season C — in the spring — but not both. There will be two seasons, two playoffs and two sets of state championships. Teams must declare which season they are participating in by 8 a.m. Sept. 21.
No area schools have made a decision yet, but Steamboat Springs Athletic Director and CHSAA board member Luke DeWolfe said he hopes to have a decision made for Steamboat sometime tomorrow.
The structure for Season A and Season C will be identical, comprised of a 6+1 season, meaning all teams will play a six-game regular season. Teams must play at least four of the six regular-season games to be eligible for postseason. Teams that don’t qualify for the playoffs can choose to play another non-qualifying team in week one or two of the postseason.
All schools, regardless of season, will have a schedule built by CHSAA due to the short time frame between now and the start of the season. Practices will begin Sept. 24, with first games Oct. 8. Playoffs will begin Nov. 21 and the championship will be played Dec. 5.
The playoff race will be highly competitive, with just eight teams qualifying from each classification, based on the CHSAA Seeding Index.
- Start of practice: 9/24
- First game: 10/8
- Round 1 of playoffs: 11/21
- Semifinals: 11/28
- Championships: 12/5
- Start of practice: 2/25
- First game: 3/11
- Round 1 of playoffs: 4/24
- Semifinals: 5/1
- Championships: 5/8
If 50% of a league is playing in any given season, the league will remain intact. Otherwise, leagues may need to be adjusted.
“It’s important for people to understand that one season isn’t necessarily different or better,” DeWolfe said. “The only thing that’s different is the time, dates, when the seasons occur.”
Spectators are allowed so long as they are compliant with the regulations for outdoor events.
No more than 175 people are permitted, and individuals or family groups must remain 6 feet from each other. If multiple games are taking place in the same vicinity, spectators must not mingle with each other. Contact information must be collected, including times of arrival and departure. Single direction traffic flow must be established.
For more constructed facilities like Gardner Field in Steamboat, these requirements will require a little extra work, but ultimately, would be possible to execute.
A decision on fan attendance will be made, pending a decision on when games will be played.
“That consideration goes back to working with our local health department to figure out the specifics of what that looks like and the best way to do that safely,” DeWolfe said. “But, I do feel confident that the configuration of our stadium, and Gardner Field in general, is built really well to lend itself towards social distancing and safe entries and exits.”
Meanwhile, at unenclosed fields such as the ones at Hayden and Soroco high schools, it may be harder to manage entries and exits.
If Steamboat were to pick up football practices next week, Mike Appel would be the interim head coach, with the retirement of Shaun Baumgartner at the conclusion of the 2019 season. Appel has been an assistant coach for the past 25 years.
Shelby Reardon is the assistant editor at the Steamboat Pilot & Today. To reach her, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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