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Louisiana to begin high school football next month

On July 13, Louisiana High School Athletic Association executive director Eddie Bonine stood before the state legislature with a detailed plan for how the state's high school sports would return to competition. The plan was broken into four phases, depending on the sport and the level of inter-personal activity native to each sport.

Unsurprisingly, football -- a game designed to undermine the concept of social distancing -- had the most stringent return-to-play requirements. Whereas swimmers and cross country runners were free to compete in meets as soon as LHSAA moved to Phase 2, high school football players could not even hold an 11-on-11 intrasquad scrimmage until Phase 4. Phase 2 was to last at least through Sept. 11.

LHSAA reopening plan

And then September rolled around, football season arrived and the LHSAA decided it was time to play ball.

In a reversal of field reminiscent to what Michigan completed on Thursday, the LHSAA on Friday gave its high school football teams the green light to play games beginning Oct. 8. "It's time," Bonine told the legislature on Friday.

Whereas Michigan needed to wait for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to release an executive order opening up recreational activities and amateur sports -- and even then, the MHSAA explicitly powered right through the governor's specific cautioning against resuming contact sports -- Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has no power to stop his state's high school season, Bonine said. The move also bypasses State Sen. Cleo Fields's attempt to ban all K-12 sports through December.

Each of Louisiana's immediate neighbors -- Mississippi, Arkansas and Texas, plus Alabama, Tennessee and Oklahoma -- are playing this Friday. A 4-staged plan sounded good in July, but once football time arrived, Louisiana decided it was time to play ball.