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Virginia High School League Cancels Fall Football Season, Considers Alternatives

High school sports will look much different in Virginia this year. No matter which plan the Virginia High School League [VHSL] adopts, students and parents should expect high school football, field hockey, volleyball and cheer will not be played in the fall.

In other models, all sports would be affected as their seasons will be shifted, but most sports will be played at a later date.

The VHSL Executive Committee met in special session, Wednesday, July 15, to discuss to the 2020-21 sports seasons. Members voted 35-0 to meet on July 27, at which time they will choose a model all Virginia high schools will follow.

VHSL needs to account for the fact that under Virginia ‘s Phase III guidelines, high-contact interactions are prohibited in youth sports. Football and lacrosse both fall within the “high-contact” category.

Options the committee is considering include canceling high risk fall sports, swapping the fall and spring seasons, and delaying all sports seasons by three months.

Model 1 leaves all sports in their current seasons. Low and moderate risks that would be allowed to play are golf and cross country. 

High risk sports that would not be played are field hockey, football, volleyball and cheer. 

Fall activities that would be allowed is theatre. 

Model 2 switches the fall and spring seasons, to accommodate high risk fall sports.

Low and moderate contact risk sports would be allowed to play in the fall are track and field, tennis, soccer, baseball and softball. 

High risk sports that would not be allowed to be played are boys and girls’ lacrosse. 

Spring activities that would be allowed are theatre, forensics/debates and film festival. 

Model 3 would allow for all sports to play during the 2020-21 school year under that Condensed Interscholastic Plan. It would leave all sports to where they are aligned.

It would delay all VHSL sports until Dec. 14

  • Season 1 (Winter) Dec. 14-Feb. 20 (First contest date Dec.28)
  • Season 2 (Fall) Feb. 15-May 1 (First contest date Mar. 1)
  • Season 3 (spring) April 12-June 26 (First contest date April 26)

“It important to remember that in all these models playing sports in the high risk category depends on being out of the current Phase III guidelines. All our efforts will continue towards advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way that will protect athletes, activity participants, coaches, officials, and the public,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “The VHSL will continue making judgments based on the best available information and directives provided by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).”

Shannon Butler, VHSL executive committee chairwoman and principal at York High School, said,”the goal in all our discussions has been to provide our student-athletes and activity participants the best opportunity to return to the playing fields, courts, track, and stages during this school year in a safe environment as possible. Our decision today will allow members of the executive committee to collaborate with the regions and groups that they represent to make a decision on July 27 that is in the best interest of our students; moving forward – our ultimate goal would be to have all of our student athletes the opportunity to safely represent their schools on the playing field during the 2020-2021 school year.”

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment, Education

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