Greenville school district announces cancellation of fall sports
Photo courtesy of MHSAA

A Delta school district has become the first to announce that they will not take part in the upcoming high school football season in Mississippi. 

Tuesday, the Greenville Public School District voted to cancel all fall sports, including football. 

Greenville’s announcement came just one day after reports surfaced that the Jackson Public School District had made a similar decision, but JPS refuted those reports for the time being in a social media post. 

“There has been no official decision or announcement yet regarding athletics and extracurricular activities for the fall semester in Jackson Public Schools.

The District is carefully reviewing potential options, safety guidelines and recommendations from local and state health officials as it considers whether or not to allow sports and other events in the fall. The health, safety, and well-being of our students, staff and families will guide whatever decision is made,” JPS said. 

The beginning of the 2020 football season has been pushed back by two weeks by the Mississippi High School Actives Association with practices set to begin across the state on August 17th. MHSAA Executive Director Don Hinton said recently that schools that choose to opt-out can do so without jeopardizing their membership with the association. 

Hinton also explained that teams that have Greenville on their schedule have the option to find a new opponent or the game will be counted as a forfeit by Greenville. The Hornets play in Region 2 of 6A and finished 3-8 in 2019. 

For those Greenville players who will now miss out on the 2020 season, they can “transfer” to an MAIS school without restriction as long they are academically eligible, but rules do restrict their ability to transfer to another MHSAA school for athletic purposes. 

This rule will be one to remember should JPS ultimately decide to cancel football this fall as the state’s top recruit, according to 24/7 Sports, plays for Provine High School. 4-star WR Deion Smith, an LSU commit, expressed to WJTV that he would be interested in transferring to a private school in the Jackson metro area if his senior season is canceled. 

Tuesday, the MHSAA did issue a set of guidelines for the upcoming season which call for screening of gameday personnel, additional sanitation measures, mask mandates for fans (if they’re allowed in), and extensive social distancing strategies.