The AHSAA kicked off its 2021 high school athletic season with multiple press conferences on Tuesday afternoon.
In front of a projector brandishing the AHSAA’s new 100-year anniversary logo, Alvin Briggs, his staff and local coaches provided updates on rule changes, COVID-19 protocol and previewed Cramton Bowl’s Kickoff Classic. Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed even made an appearance, discussing his time as a receiver and defensive back at Jefferson Davis High.
Here’s what we learned from AHSAA media day as the high school football season kicks off:
ANOTHER LOOK:Behind the scenes of 2021 River Region high school football media day
TAKING CHARGE:The origin of Alvin Briggs makes him a perfect fit as new AHSAA executive director
COVID-19 looms over season again
Briggs bragged about Alabama being the lone state that started athletics on time last year and finished the same way. (Granted, dozens of teams forfeited contests across all sports, even during the playoffs.) Both Briggs and Reed stressed the importance of social distancing and following safety guidelines as the delta variant rips through the South.
On Tuesday, Alabama had 11 more intensive care unit patients than available beds and 2,723 COVID-19 hospitalizations. To start the season, there won’t be attendance limits or mask requirements at games. The AHSAA will continue to follow the governor’s guidelines.
Reed mentioned the New Orleans Saints and other NFL teams that in the past few days have announced they’ll require proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend games. Can he envision a similar measure in Montgomery?
“I hope we don’t have to do that,” Reed said of implementing vaccination requirements or capacity limits. ” … We want to encourage people to get vaccinated. We want to encourage people to wear masks as often as they can. … It’s my goal that we don’t get that to that point.”
Update on basketball shot clock
In May, the National Federation of State High School Associations approved its members to adopt a shot clock in 2022. Jamie Lee, AHSAA assistant director and primary contact for basketball, provided an update to Alabama’s plan to reporters.
Assuming the Central Board approves it, Lee will poll principals across the state in January on a shot clock. A two-thirds majority of the AHSAA’s roughly 400 schools would be required, and if it passes, all would be subject to use a shot clock at the varsity level. Lee estimated the cost at $2,500-3,500 per school.
This is a slight delay from the timeline Lee provided The Advertiser earlier this summer. Still, the AHSAA has some time before the shot clock could be officially used in the 2022-23 seasons.
An eighth champ crowned at Super 7
The AHSAA provided an update on its newest sport: girls flag football.
The joint venture between the Atlanta Falcons and NFL Flag has taken shape over the summer with coaching clinics and grants awarded to schools. As of Monday, 57 schools have announced their intent to field a team. Teams are responsible for their own schedules, and there will be a tournament to end the season on Dec. 1, the opening day of the Super 7 set for Birmingham.
River Region teams that expect to have teams are Calhoun, Park Crossing and Pike Road.