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The Alabama High School Athletic Association has approved the AHSAA’s Return to Play “Best Practices” guidelines for upcoming winter sports and approved fall sports championships changes. Photo Contributed

AHSAA Approves Return To Play For High School Winter Sports

MONTGOMERY- The Alabama High School Athletic Association has approved its Return to Play “Best Practices” guidelines for winter sports and also approved changes for the upcoming fall sports championships. The moves were approved at the association’s annual fall meeting in Montgomery.

The Return to Play will continue to follow the Alabama Department of Public Health and AHSAA Medical Advisory Board recommendations for basketball, wrestling, bowling and indoor track. The changes for the fall title events include a restriction on the number of in attendance at the designated venues. One of the major changes includes an approval for the GOFAN Fall Championship Ticketing plan, which will manage the ticket limits and will require tickets to playoffs events, except cross country, to be purchased digitally.

Both the winter sports guidelines and fall titles ticketing information are available at www.ahsaa.com.

“The purpose of the Return to Play has always been to offer AHSAA member schools best practices in order to commence those athletic seasons as scheduled and as safely as possible,” said Steve Savarese, AHSAA Executive Director. “Among the fall sports championships changes was establishing a sub-regional round for volleyball teams advancing beyond area play. Attendance will be limited at the Super Regional and State Tournament venues.”

For the upcoming football playoffs, which get underway Nov. 6, attendance will be restricted to 33-percent of the venue. The Super 7 Championships at the University of Alabama’s Bryant-Denny has set a limit to 7,200 per session of the seven classification title games.

One important decision that affects many of the local schools and its athletes is the fact the AHSAA has moved the scheduled Swimming and Diving State Championships from Auburn University to the much larger Huntsville Aquatic Center to better accommodate attendance and social distancing. This year, Sectional Meets will not be held. The move was made to the Huntsville location on Drake Avenue to accommodate for the number of athletes and the expected high attendance. The State Meet is set for Dec. 4-5.

The State Cross Country Championships at Oakville Indian Mounds State Park will include tickets being available onsite only.

One additional move by the AHSAA is the state’s oldest all-star game has found a new home. The annual North-South All-Star Football Classic will move from Montgomery to Mobile for the next three years beginning with this year’s Dec. 18 game. The 62nd annual contest along with 2021 and 2022 games will be played at the University of South Alabama’s (USA) Hancock Whitney Stadium. The 25,000-seat stadium, which opened this season, is the home of the USA Jaguars.

The Classic is part of the All-Star Sports Week and was played at Montgomery’s Cramton Bowl from 1997-2004 and was moved to Troy University and Alabama A&M University before coming back to the Capital City in 2011.

The teams for the Dec. 18 game are expected to be announced next week as the game was postponed from its usual July format due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

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