GHSA heat policy worries coaches | News
Wednesday is the first day Georgia High School Association football teams can hold practices in helmets and shorts.
Under the new heat rules, all players must undergo five practices in shorts to get them ready for the heat before putting on full pads next week.
Coaches in south Georgia are worried the new policy will keep them from practicing and the lack of preseason practice could lead to bigger problems when the season starts.
Thomas County Central head coach Bill Shaver said. "There have been big conversations going on around the 7 on 7 tournaments, quarterback/receiver camps and the lineman camps about hey what are you going to do with your kids."
The big concern with the new GHSA heat policy is the wet bulb thermometer now required for all schools to monitor before and during practices
Teams can only practice in shoulder pads for two hours when the wet bulb reading is above 87.
When the wet bulb is between 90-92, schools can practice for one hour in shorts and there must be 20 minutes of breaks during that hour.
There can be no outdoor practice when the wet bulb reading is 92 and over.
With school starting in early August now, the only available time to practice for most teams is after school which is usually the hottest time of the day.
Valdosta High coach Rance Gillespie said. "There is a good chance here in south Georgia that we are going to miss some practices because of the new heat rules.
Bill Shaver said. "Here in south Georgia we are going to hit that wet bulb after school pretty regularly where you can't go out and practice.
If teams aren't able to practice outdoors, they don't have a lot of options.
Cook High head coach Ken Cofer said. "If you have an indoor facility like the Oregon Ducks somebody like that, we can do it. We wouldn't have any worries. That is my worry. You can't fit 93 players like we have in your gym and get anything done on a positive note."
Bill Shaver said. "It is tough for Thomas County because our kids live all around the county. We have got some kids who live 30 miles from the school. So, you can't let them go home and come back."
And the biggest concern is that some teams may have to cancel too many practices before their first game.
Rance Gillespie said. "Being able to have a team prepared and being able to have team that is physically prepared to match the heat."
Any school caught violating the GHSA heat rules faces fines between $500-$1000.
The GHSA wet bulb does not apply to games.
The GHSA believes players will have adequate rest and hydration breaks during games.