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Sports may not be so far away after all.

The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday fall sports will be allowed to begin as scheduled. 

The AHSAA Central Board of Control approved the association’s Return to Play ‘Best Practices’ recommended guidelines and reaffirmed plans to start fall sports on time during an annual meeting in Montgomery Wednesday.

Fall sports teams will be given the option to start fall workouts on July 27 with the first week used by football for acclimation purposes with helmets and shorts only. 

According to a AHSAA press release, other fall sports such as volleyball, cross country and swimming and diving can use the first week for acclimation and tryouts. 

Schools not choosing that option may start resume practice Aug. 3.The first contest can be Aug. 20.

“The purpose of the Return to Play document is to offer AHSAA member schools best practices in order to commence the 2020-21 school year athletic seasons as scheduled and as safely as possible,” executive director Steve Savarese said in the release.

The AHSAA will discuss the guidelines further during a virtual press conference at 1 p.m. Thursday. To tune into the press conference, visit the WOTM.tvor www.nfhsnetwork.com/events/ahsaa/evt658f416bdf. The document will be available online at www.ahsaa.com Thursday.

The central board also approved amending the AHSAA constitution to guarantee no person shall be discriminated against based on gender, race or religion. The updated language provides equal opportunity at all positions of management.

“I want to thank this central board for having the courage to do the right thing,” Savarese said. “Moving forward, this is a great day for our association.”

The board also waived member school dues, saving approximately $84,000 for the schools for the coming school year and a total savings of approximately $2.4 million since 1991-92 for the association’s 416 high schools and 336 middle/junior high schools.