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Tampa Bay first: Admiral Farragut will not play football this fall due to the coronavirus

The international boarding school will play other, non-contact fall sports.

Admiral Farragut Academy’s 2020 football season is over before it began due to concerns around the coronavirus. The St. Petersburg boarding school announced it will not play football this fall.

“It’s a very difficult decision,” athletic director Matt Olesnevich said. “We’re an international boarding school. Everyone else gets to go home, but we are their home here.”

He said this is a safety issue for football, the school’s only contact fall sport. Farragut is the first school in Tampa Bay to make the decision not to play football in 2020.

The school plans to start its academic year as scheduled and to compete in cross country, golf, swimming and volleyball. Those sports don’t raise the same concern, as athletes can maintain better distance.

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“Everyone has been very positive,” Olesnevich said of the response from the school community. “Naturally they’re very disappointed, especially the seniors.”

Farragut has reached the playoffs each of the past five years and played in the Class 2A title game in 2011. At least one alumnus, Rayshawn Jenkins, made it to the NFL, where he is a safety for the Chargers. Napoleon Maxwell signed with the Bears as an undrafted free agent this summer.

Coach Rick Kravitz will remain with the program in his current role as an administrator in the athletic department.

“We didn’t want people to think he’s leaving us or he lost his job,” Olesnevich said. “He’s gotten us to the playoffs and has put over 20 players in college.”

The board of directors will re-evaluate football for next year, once “there is more information available about the transmission of this virus,” the school said in a statement.

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