Wayne County Loretto football 2018

Wayne County's Travis Paterson runs downfield against Loretto in 2018. High school football in Tennessee will not start on time this year due to COVID-19, the TSSAA announced Tuesday. [JIM HANNON/TIMESDAILY]

The high school football and girls soccer seasons for high schools in Tennessee will not begin on time, the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association announced Tuesday.

According to a memo to schools from the TSSAA, Gov. Bill Lee’s Monday extension of a state of emergency due to COVID-19 through Aug. 29 means schools “cannot have close contact activities during their fundamental practice in the sports of football, 7-on-7 football, girls soccer, wrestling and basketball.”

“Based on the extension of the Governor's order, football and girls' soccer cannot begin their seasons as originally scheduled. We are in the process of developing regular season and postseason options to present to the TSSAA Board of Control for their consideration,” the memo said.

“The Board will ultimately make the decision as to how this will impact the postseason and if any adjustments can be made to regular season competition.”

The announcement directly affects the four Tennessee schools in the TimesDaily’s coverage area – Collinwood, Lawrence County, Loretto and Wayne County.

The announcement also appears set to affect several Alabama schools scheduled to play Tennessee teams.

Rogers, for example, was originally set to open its season at home Aug. 20 with a football game against Richland (Tenn.). Florence was set to open its season with a road game Aug. 21 at Brentwood Academy.

Until the state of emergency is lifted, football, girls soccer, wrestling and basketball teams “cannot have close contact activities until their fundamental practice,” the memo said.

“We are working with the Governor’s office to ensure that our member schools are in compliance with the executive order in regards to athletic participation and contact sports,” the TSSAA said in the memo.

Lawrence County’s football team was originally set to travel to Hickman County on Aug. 21 and play host to Loretto on Aug. 28.

Loretto football was set to visit Wayne County and Lawrence County in those two weeks.

Collinwood football was initially scheduled to visit Middleton and Richland on Aug. 21 and 28, respectively. Wayne County was set to play host to Loretto and then visit Summertown.

Contact Craig at Craig.Thomas@TimesDaily.com. Follow him on Twitter: @TD_CraigThomas

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