The view from the press box

A soap opera. That is exactly what we have with the Florida High School Athletic Association at the moment.

Its handling of navigating a course to a high school sports season has become a joke.

And in the latest episode of As the High School Sports World Turns in Florida during the COVID-19 pandemic, we find that the FHSAA has opted to hit an all new low in its handling of the situation.

It won’t follow the course of its previous two board meetings this summer and live stream the scheduled Aug. 14 meeting.

Instead, it is choosing to go rogue and drive itself right off the cliff, refusing to live stream the meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. next Friday in Gainesville.

Yes, it will meet in person, something that didn’t happen at the first two meetings.

And yes, the meeting is open to the public.

But because of COVID-19 restrictions when it comes to gatherings, capacity is limited in the meeting room at the Best Western Gateway Grand. Not even media members are guaranteed a seat.

If this meeting revolved around a basic topic, few people would care about a board meeting in the middle of August.

But this meeting has the fate of the fall sports season hanging in the balance. The previous two meetings lasted a combined eight hours or so and accomplished little.

A lot of questions are still unanswered. A lot of concerns have yet to be addressed.

I think it’s only fair that the media and the public have a right to watch the next board meeting over the internet.

If we can successfully send a commercially built shuttle to space, we can broadcast a board meeting online, especially when it’s a meeting that carries so much importance.

Board president Lauren Otero, one of the few people who has actually made sense at meetings this summer, learned that the FHSAA wasn’t going to live stream the meeting.

She immediately requested that it be live streamed. The executive director of the FHSAA, George Tomyn, denied that request.

That’s just wrong. And it’s not a good look at all by the FHSAA.

The FHSAA shouldn’t have anything to hide during this meeting. We are all trying to figure out the real reason it doesn’t want the meeting shown live. But despite several attempts to reach FHSAA staff and board members, no one has responded with an explanation.

That’s just par for the course for an organization that continues to find ways to fumble the football at the 1-yard line.

We have great athletes in this state. Some of the best in the nation in fact. 

But when it comes to leadership and high school athletics, we are in whatever place is below last.

And that’s unfortunate. Because when we need the FHSAA to do the right thing with this important upcoming meeting, it has failed us miserably.

Homecoming

Navarre’s own Michael Carter will have an opportunity to play two games in his home state of Florida this season.

With the Atlantic Coast Conference going to a conference-only slate, Carter and the Tar Heels will be in Tallahassee Oct. 17 to take on Florida State.

The regular season wraps up Dec. 5 in Miami. Carter is on both the Doak Walker and Paul Hornung Watch Lists this season. He currently ranks 15th all-time in rushing for the Tar Heels with 2,159 yards.

In other college news, the presidents of the schools in the NCAA Division II Gulf South Conference are expected to meet Tuesday and there is a chance a decision is made to cancel the season. Earlier this summer the GSC announced it would play a conference-only schedule.

In the News

In this week’s Navarre Press this week I have a story on the reaction of several former Navarre Raiders to Huntingdon College not having the opportunity to play college football this fall.

I also have an update on what the Raider volleyball team has been up to this summer. My column hits on the issues MLB has already run into in trying to have a season during a pandemic.

On this day in Sports History

A total of 22 nations compete in the first Olympic Games in Berlin on Aug. 7, 1936. The opening game features Estonia beating France 34-29.

On Aug. 7, 1984, The United States wins its first Gold Medal in women’s basketball with an 85-5 win over South Korea in Los Angeles.

Shaquille O’Neal is signed by the Orlando Magic on Aug. 7, 1992. He was the No. 1 pick of the Magic that year. And on Aug. 7, 2004, Greg Maddux wins his 3,000th game in Chicago’s 8-4 win over San Francisco.

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