When Dr. John Combs was named Tipton County Director of Schools nearly two years ago, he talked about few things on which he was going to focus.

Safety, teacher retention, instructional technology and post-graduation paths were among the things he planned to tackle.

Deciding how many people, if any, can attend a high school school football game during a global pandemic?


That was, obviously, not on his radar.

But that’s exactly what he has found himself  doing the past couple of weeks.

He attended the Covington-Munford game last Friday night. I attended the game as did about 1,000 fans from Munford and Covington.

Lots of people were wearing masks and trying to socially distance. Lots of people, some wearing purple and gold and some wearing maroon, were not.

That forced Combs to make another tough decision. He decided to allow half as many fans at the next Covington home game.

As soon as the story was posted Tuesday on Facebook, the comments, 158 of them as of Thursday afternoon, starting coming.

The comments were predictable.

Some people questioned the effectiveness of masks and took offense at Combs’s decision to lower the amount of fans. Others wondered why football players are being allowed to crash into one another for two and a half hours while fans are being asked to wear masks while not crashing into one another. Many people scolded those fans who did not follow the protocols and defended Combs’ decision.

And, of course, some people (presumably with nothing better to do on a Tuesday afternooon) used the platform to argue with each other.

The bottom line is the TSSAA, the state’s high school sports governing body, has laid down some guidelines and Combs is doing his best to make everybody follow them.

Combs is a football fan. He wants to makes this work, but if there’s an outbreak and the guidelines have not been followed, he will be the one blamed for it.

Lots of people around here love their high school football and Combs’ strong stand Tuesday clearly made some of them mad.

I, for one, applaud his stand. I really don’t like telling people what to do, but in this case it seems obvious.

If you want high school football to work, play by the rules. Like it or not, Combs has made that crystal clear.

Jeff Ireland
Author: Jeff Ireland