Students eligible to play sports even if they choose virtual learning option

Students eligible to play sports even if they choose virtual learning option
Whether if you choose traditional learning or virtual learning for this upcoming school year, the AHSAA says as long as a student is enrolled in their school and following all the proper guidelines, they are eligible to play sports this fall. (Source: WBRC)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Whether you choose traditional learning or virtual learning for this upcoming school year, the AHSAA says as long as a student is enrolled in their school and following all the proper guidelines, they are eligible to play sports this fall.

Birmingham City Schools has decided the first nine weeks of the school year will be virtual for all students, but many raise the question if students are learning online, how is it safe to play football?

The AHSAA held a presser Thursday and released its new best practices guidelines and say students will be eligible to play if they choose the virtual learning option.

For Jackson-Olin head football coach Tim Vakakes, he believes virtual learning is a great way to help minimize exposure to his players and all students.

“There’s a difference because you’re talking about smaller groups. I know our volleyball team and football with us, we’ve been training all summer in small groups so when you start talking about an entire school coming together, you’re talking about a much larger sample size to manage,” Vakakes said.

The AHSAA announced Thursday that football, along with all fall sports, will start on time, but how much of a season student-athletes have all depends on COVID-19 as the association continues to monitor the situation.

“That’s why we’re beginning when we’re beginning because we don’t know what October holds or November, but hopefully we can get our games in, allowing our students to have an entire season or a portion of their season,” Executive Director Steve Savarese said.

Whether it’s five games or eight games, playing this season could be the difference of receiving a scholarship or not for Jackson-Olin linebacker Kason Boston.

“Without spring, those coaches didn’t get the opportunity to come see him his development so now with another season, you’re talking about a life changing event for that young man who will get opportunities now that we will be playing,” said Vakakes.

Fall practice begins on July 27 with the first football game set for August 20 and 21.

Copyright 2020 WBRC. All rights reserved.