Last week, the FHSAA announced its sports offerings will grow by two for the 2021-22 school year.
The addition most likely to impact the Plant City area is girls wrestling. Though girls are currently allowed to join boys teams to form co-ed rosters, the sport will be fully sanctioned in that school year to meet a growing demand across the state. The FHSAA reported 708 girls were on co-ed rosters last season.
Beach volleyball is also joining the ranks of officially recognized high school sports.
On the football field, there will be a new rule for the upcoming 2020-21 school year: athletes will now be permitted to play up to six quarters per week instead of four. Schools can apply to waive their one game per week requirement and approval will be granted for programs that meet the FHSAA’s criteria in areas of current and past roster sizes as well as history of performance.
The rule would allow junior varsity players to play on a Wednesday, rest 24 hours and then be immediately eligible to play in two quarters in a Friday night varsity game — which allows varsity programs to instantly create roster depth and allows JV players to get more high-level experience immediately instead of having to wait until late in the varsity season, when JV play ends and many players get called up for that depth. The rule won’t have much effect either way on bigger programs, but it’s a big benefit for those like Strawberry Crest that have had smaller-than-average rosters in recent years.