What are the start dates for high school football in all 50 states? (latest updates)

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, every high school governing body in America has had to decide when it is safe to play football in their state. Some have elected to play as if it were a normal year (Utah), some had delayed start dates but will still play in 2020 (Texas) and some have moved football to 2021 (California).

Below is a quick overview followed by a specific list detailing every state’s decision on high school football. We will continue to keep this list updated as states adjust to the ongoing pandemic.

Here are the 35 states playing football in 2020: Alaska, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Mississippi, Montana, Texas, Utah, Indiana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Tennessee, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Georgia, Florida, Kansas, New Hampshire, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Maine, Wisconsin, South Carolina, New Jersey, Michigan, Delaware, Minnesota, Colorado and Louisiana.

Here are the states and districts that have officially moved high school football to 2021: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Virginia, New Mexico, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Illinois, Maryland, Hawaii, Rhode Island, New York and Vermont.


Alabama: Season underway (began Aug. 21)

Alaska: Season began Aug. 20, but the state cancelled their state championships due to COVID-19.

Arizona: Season underway (began Sept. 30)

Arkansas: Season underway (began Aug. 27)

California: Padded practices begin on Dec. 14 with games starting Jan. 8

Colorado: After initially moving football to 2021, schools were given the option to opt in to having a fall football season if they wanted. 218 schools began games on Oct. 8. 58 schools will play in the spring.

Connecticut: The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference cancelled for the fall and is hoping to play in the spring. The Connecticut Independent High School Football League had to stop playing in November because of new state guidelines. They plan to resume in the spring as well. More information on Connecticut high school football is available here.

Delaware: Season underway (began Oct. 23)

District of Columbia: Practices begin Feb. 1 and games start Feb. 22.

Florida: Games began Sept. 4 for some schools, but others in counties that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19, opted to start football later and miss out on the postseason in order to play more games. Teams that opted in and are still playing will compete in semifinal playoff games this week. Teams that opted out can play games until Dec. 19. Teams that opted in and have lost can still schedule games up until Dec. 19 as well. Those teams cannot play more than ten games though.

Georgia: Season underway (began Sept. 3)

Hawaii: Season moved to Jan. 2021

Idaho: Season complete

Illinois: TBD, but some point in 2021 (hopefully)

The hope is games will start in the spring, though skepticism remains as the public showdown between the IHSA and the combination of Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s office and the Illinois Department of Public Health continues.


Indiana: Season complete

Iowa: Season complete

Kansas: Season complete

Kentucky: Season underway (began Sept. 11)

Louisiana: Season underway (began Oct. 8)

Maine: Season postponed, coaches are mulling over a season beginning in May.

Maryland: Fall sports seasons for public schools will begin Feb. 13, with games starting March 5. Some private schools in the state began playing football games in November. Championship dates are scheduled for those schools for Dec. 18.

Many private schools that started playing ended up having to stop their seasons midway through, according to Katherine Fominykh of the Capital Gazette:

Archbishop Spalding joins a growing list of private schools that have had seasons cut short because of coronavirus or limitations caused by the virus. Fall athletics at Annapolis Area Christian School were suspended Nov. 16, and John Carroll School did the same on Nov. 11 as the school moved from hybrid learning to virtual.

Several other private schools, including Calvert Hall, Loyola Blakefield, Concordia Prep and Mercy, halted play this weekend when Baltimore County limited outdoors gatherings to a maximum of 25 people. The annual Turkey Bowl football game between Calvert Hall and Loyola Blakefield was subsequently canceled for the first time in a century.


Massachusetts: The high school football season will take place from Feb. 22-April 25.

Michigan: The season was moved to 2021, but that decision was changed when Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer adjusted an executive order that called for social distancing at all outdoor competitions. Games began Sept. 18., but the season was paused for three weeks last month due to rising COVID-19 numbers in the state. The season is scheduled to resume Dec. 15, with championships coming two weeks later.

Minnesota: After initially opting for a 2021 season, Minnesota went with a six game season with games beginning Oct. 9. On Nov. 20, the state cancelled the remainder of its football season due to a rise in COVID-19 numbers.

Mississippi: Season underway (began Sept. 3)

Missouri: Season underway (began Aug. 28)

Montana: Season complete

Nebraska: Season complete

Nevada: Football practices begin Feb. 13 with games starting Mar. 5

New Hampshire: Season complete

New Jersey: Season complete

New Mexico: Football season begins Feb. 22

New York: Practices begin March 1, 2021

North Carolina: Football practices begin Feb. 8 with games starting Feb. 26. Schools competing in The North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association played in the fall and their season is over.

North Dakota: Season complete

Ohio: Season complete

Oklahoma: Season underway (Started Aug. 28)

Oregon: Practices can begin Feb. 22 and games start Mar. 15

Pennsylvania: Season complete

Rhode Island: Practices start Feb. 22

South Carolina: Season underway (Started Sept. 25)

South Dakota: Season complete

Tennessee: Season underway (Started Aug. 20)

Texas: Teams in the 4A, 3A, 2A and 1A classes began in August and teams in 5A and 6A started playing between Sept. 24 and Sept. 26.

Utah: Season complete

Vermont: Schools in Vermont that want to play football in 2020 will play two hand touch seven-on-seven.

Virginia: Football practices begin on Feb. 4 with games starting Feb. 22.

Washington: Practice starts March 8 and games can begin the week of March 19.

West Virginia: West Virginia played in 2020, but had their state championships cancelled due to COVID-19.

Wisconsin: Practices began Sept. 7 and games started Sept. 21, but schools could elect to play in the spring or break up their season between 2020 and 2021 if they preferred. The fall football season ended Nov. 20, with no high school football state championships being played.

Wyoming: Season complete

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