FLORENCE, S.C. — SCISA hit its first speed bump on the road to resuming sports.
Because of the pandemic, its first day of practice for all sports was postponed from July 30 to Aug. 3. And although its fall sport seasons besides football are scheduled to start on time, Aug. 17, football’s first regular-season games are postponed from Aug. 21 to the 28th.
Other changes include the elimination of SCISA’s Week Zero, as well as preseason jamborees and scrimmages.
The state’s private-school league also implemented a dead period, from Friday until Aug. 2.
When football starts Aug. 3, it will follow its usual three-phase plan when it comes to using equipment. Phase 1 (helmets only) will be followed by Phase 2 (helmets and shoulder pads) on Aug. 10. Phase 3 (full-pad workouts) is then scheduled for Aug. 17.
Local coaches were not fazed by the announcement.
“I certainly think it does not come as a surprise if you look at all the surrounding states and at what other college programs are doing,” Trinity-Byrnes coach Jared Amell said. “I think it’s prudent to start the school year before we start playing games, as far as having students in class before we play. I support it.”
Trinity-Byrnes is scheduled to start school Aug. 20.
The King’s Academy football coach Keith Rogers is also for it.
“I think the ultimate goal is to have any kind of fall sports and get to the finish line and get it completed,” said Rogers, whose school begins class Aug. 12. “If that means backing things up a bit, then I’m all for it. The way I look at it, nobody has any competitive advantage, we’re all on the same page as far as the preseason. Nobody has any competitive edge, and that’s fine with me.”
And although Florence Christian football coach Neil Minton supports the decision, he added it’s tough for his young team to not have scrimmages and jamborees.
“For our team having lost so many starters and is so inexperienced, it stinks for us losing jamborees and scrimmages, and also Week Zero,” said Minton, whose school starts class Aug. 18. “We have nine new starters on both sides of the ball. But as far as what SCISA is doing, I’m behind it because it gives us a better opportunity to get on the field.”
And as for the dead period? Amell said his program had already instituted that, anyway.
“Last week, we decided since we had no COVID- 19 cases, we wanted to be safe and stay safe,” Amell said. “We had decided last week we would not practice until July 30. And now that that’s pushed back, I think it makes good sense.”