5A Football State Championship - Orem vs Timpview 05

Orem’s Brody Monson (16) celebrates after the Golden Tigers’ 21-7 victory over the Timpview Thunderbirds in the 5A state championship Friday, Nov. 22, 2019, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City. Isaac Hale, Daily Herald

Facing the real possibility that college and professional sports may be put on hold this fall, Utah sports fans did get one piece of good news on Thursday.

The Utah High School Activities Association unanimously approved fall sports and activities for the upcoming school year in a Board of Trustees Zoom meeting held on Thursday.

“I knew it (the meeting) was going on,” Orem football coach Jeremy Hill said. “Honestly, I’m very happy and a little shocked as well. With everything that’s been going on, I thought they might push us to spring or something. But I’m definitely excited, for sure.”

The Orem football team’s offseason workouts take place in the late afternoon and Hill said he couldn’t wait to share the good news with his players.

Turns out they already knew.

“Most of them had already heard about it on social media,” Hill said. “The kids are happy. It’s all about the kids and we’re so glad they are going to have a season. We were all heartbroken about the baseball kids and other spring athletes when their seasons got canceled.”

This spring, the UHSAA canceled all sports and activities due to the coronavirus.

Hill said along with elation he is also feeling cautiously optimistic since concerns over the pandemic could change plans in a hurry.

“We know we’re still not out of the woods yet,” he said. “But for today, for us right now, we’re pretty excited.”

The move doesn’t guarantee fall sports will go off as planned, only that the UHSAA is continuing to plan for it to happen. The board will meet again in three weeks to reassess its decision.

Fall sports include football, cross country, volleyball, girls soccer, girls tennis, baseball (for 1A schools) and boys golf.

Safety measures are in place based on Utah’s color-codes risk phases. Schools will be asked clean and sanitize facilities and equipment and to encourage social distancing as much as possible. In addition, each school will be subject to local county health department guidelines.

Official practices for fall sports generally start in late July or early August, with first events slated for early to mid-August.

Follow Darnell Dickson on Twitter @darnellwrites or e-mail him at ddickson@heraldextra.com.

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