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High school fall football gets OK from state, CHSAA board – with some restrictions

Field hockey, cheer, and dance will also be allowed during the fall season.

COLORADO, USA — Gov. Jared Polis announced Wednesday that Colorado would conditionally approve the Colorado High School Activities Association’s (CHSAA) request to make certain outdoor sports available this fall.

These outdoor sports include football, field hockey, cheer, and dance. Schools will still have the choice to offer these sports in the spring instead.

>> The video above is reaction from one DPS head coach who thinks the decision should stay as it was originally made.

The CHSAA Board of Directors had the final say and approved the plan in a Wednesday night vote. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Safety (CDPHE) sent a letter to CHSAA outlining the guidelines and restriction that will in place, which include: These guidelines include:

  • 25 players per roster for field hockey, or a total of 50 players on or around any field of play
  • 50 players per roster for football, or a total of 100 players on or around any field of play
  • 28 participants per roster for cheer/dance, or a total of 56 participants on or around any area of competition
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must wear masks while not actively playing or performing
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must be 6 feet apart from non-household members on the sidelines or while not in active play.
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others, must stay in their designated areas off the field of play, and may not go into spectator areas.
  • All participants, including athletes, coaches, match officials, staff, and others must wear
    masks and observe social distancing during transportation.

RELATED: Colorado governor working with CHSAA to approve variances for fall football

This comes about a week after Polis said the Denver Broncos would be allowed to have 5,700 fans attend their second home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During that same news conference, the governor said he was hopeful high school football could go on in the fall.

RELATED: CHSAA Board unanimously votes to not change 2020-21 calendar

But just a day after the governor's comments, the CHSAA Board of Directors unanimously voted to not reconsider any adjustment to the 2020-2021 calendar. 

What happened next has been jockeying between CHSAA and the governor’s office, which said the organization could have done more with the state to get high school football approved.

“I think there’s a window for additional fall sports that have been talked about,” Polis said during a news conference on Friday. “Not every district is ready to do those. I think many are. I talk regularly with CHSSA. We are doing everything we can to facilitate this.”

Student-athletes held a protest last week, asking to play during the fall.

RELATED: Colorado athletes protest CHSAA Board's decision to postpone fall football

RELATED: High school football programs react to CHSAA's decision to not play this fall

"It’s more than a sport for so many of us. It’s kind of the reason we wake up in the morning and go into school," said Isaac Abramson, a senior at Lutheran High School. "I’ve been playing as long as I can remember. Going into my senior year, this is when you’re supposed to get recruited. Kind of when colleges start talking to you."

Friday he teamed up with dozens of his opponents on the field, standing united at an intersection in Highlands Ranch asking the governor to let them play.

"There’s still time for us to have a season this year. It’s not too late to reverse the decision," Abramson said. "I’ll wear a mask. I will sign whatever I need to sign. Whatever I can do to play football now is what I’ll do."

A petition to “let them play” has garnered more than 14,000 signatures.

At this point, there’s no word on a potential timeline for if or when fall football could resume.

CHSAA tweeted Friday that it submitted variances for spirit, volleyball, field hockey, gymnastics, soccer and unified bowling in addition to football.