By Conor McCue

DENVER (CBS4) – The Colorado High School Activities Association released its plans for 2020-2021, and there are a lot of changes, including the seasons in which sports are played. Some of the major changes include shortening each season and moving football to the spring.

(credit: CBS)

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According to CHSAA, football and other contact sports were moved to a later season “due to the restrictive nature of the current state guidelines.” Under the modified sport schedule, football teams will be able to start practice on Feb. 22, and start competition on March 4. Teams will only play 7 games and the championship is tentatively scheduled for May 8, 2021.
“I think my first reaction when I got that was relief, just because there is still football on the table,” said Ben Butler, Head Football Coach at Manual High School.

Ben Butler, head coach of Manual High School's football team

CBS4’s Conor McCue interviews Ben Butler, head coach of Manual High School’s football team. (credit: CBS)

Butler’s players started training again early in July, but until Tuesday didn’t know when their season would start, or if there would be one at all.

“This year so far has been a ton of uncertainty but also a ton of resilience from kids,” said Butler.
Now, coach Butler’s team will have to show patience, too. On Tuesday he let them know the news about spring football.

“It might feel a little different, but like it,” said Elijah Quiñonez, a senior. “As long as we get a season, that’s all that really matters.”

Elijah Quiñonez

Elijah Quiñonez (credit: CBS)

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Under the new modified sports schedule, there are four seasons: A,B,C, and D. Boys golf, softball, boys tennis, and cross country will make up season A, which is currently underway and concludes in October.

Then, between October 17, and January 3, there will then be a participation moratorium, because, according to CHSAA, data from the state shows “a likely resurgence of COVID-19 cases in late fall.”

“Where we are today, we feel very good about the ability to not have disruptions, to not have cancellations, and to try to give every kid in Colorado the opportunity to participate,” said CHSAA Commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green.

Football will fall in season C, which also includes field hockey, gymnastics, boys soccer, unified bowling, and girls volleyball. After a 7-game season, football will finish with an 8-team postseason in each division.

“At least we’re still going to have a season and at least we’ll take this time to get better,” said Quiñonez.

Coach Butler still has questions about eligibility and equity, but says the one thing the new plan offers most is certainty.
“To be able to talk to them now and say, ‘here’s a definite answer, we’re going to have sports and football,’ I can see that light kind of come back on and their passion reignited for we can get through this together,” Butler said.

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When asked about what would cause any cancellation or modification to the modified plans, the commissioner answered concisely, “the governor” in a press conference held on Zoom.  
CHSAA will release specific procedures and requirements for each sport on Wednesday. 

Conor McCue