The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) recently announced changes to the 2020-21 high school sports calendar. With concerns about student safety during the coronavirus pandemic, the WIAA Executive Board will create 4 shorter seasons instead of the normal 3. Several sports will change entire seasons, while others will be similar to previous years.
Shuffling The Seasons
There is so much overlap in high school sports this year, so students may not be able to participate in all the same sports they usually would. Some students will have to choose between volleyball and soccer, for instance.
WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman said the schedules for each season, especially the fall, are tentative. The schedule (which was updated on August 4th) has already changed from the WIAA’s July 21st press release that announced changes to high school sports for the 2020-21 school year.
“Our board is committed to remaining flexible because there is so much unknown,” Hoffman said. “We’re at the mercy of the medical world and the virus and the government and health experts. If they say you can’t do this, then we can’t do it.”
The sports calendar this year spans September 7, 2020 and will end June 26, 2021. Each sport is set up to allow 7 competition weeks each. The WIAA has scheduled a break between November 2nd and December 27th to give its Executive Board some flexibility to adjust the current schedule if there are additional spikes in positive coronavirus tests.
“We’re going to take a hard look early in November to see if [the current plan] is realistic,” Hoffman said. “If it doesn’t appear to be then we’ll start implementing the next plan, whatever that may be.”
Season 1 (September 7th – October 31st)
The only sports that are scheduled this fall are:
- Cross country
- Slowpitch softball
While Deer Park may start its golf season this fall, the postseason will be held during Season 4 beginning in April. Football and volleyball, which usually begin in the fall, will move to March for Season 3.
Additionally, Spokane County must be in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan to begin slowpitch softball this fall, while the other fall sports can begin in Phase 2.
Season 2 (December 28th – February 27th)
Deer Park High School plans to have some normal winter sports in Season 2. While the normal winter season begins in late November, Season 2 this year is tentatively scheduled to begin December 28th.
The Stags wrestling team may be in trouble this year. Because wrestling is a high contact sport, it is the only sport in any season that will require all Washington counties to be in Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan before students can begin practice.
Season 3 (March 1st – May 1st)
In addition to football and volleyball, Season 3 is scheduled to include:
- Girls soccer
- 1B/2B boys soccer (the WIAA places schools into 1 of 6 tiered classifications based on the size of enrollment: 1B, 2B, 1A, 2A, 3A, and 4A)
- Girls swim and dive
- Cross country
- Slowpitch softball
Season 4 (April 26th to Jun 26th)
April is slated to include normal spring sports, such as:
- Track and field
- Fastpitch softball
- Boys soccer
Giving Students Every Chance to Participate
Though the WIAA must comply with state directives, Hoffman and the Executive Board are focused on giving high school students every chance to participate. “We do this because we like working with kids and we know the value of education-based athletics,” Hoffman said. “For kids not to be able to access that is frustrating.”
The WIAA will continue updating its 2020-21 WIAA Modified Sports Season Calendar throughout the year to keep students and parents informed. Additional information about specific sports or WIAA guidelines for the coronavirus pandemic can be found at WIAA.com.
Disclaimer: Because the Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation is continually developing, topics mentioned in this article are subject to change without notice.
Source: WIAA 7/21/2020 Press Release DPGazette.com/wiaa72120 Accessed 9/8/20