The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) has modified its 2020-2021 high school sports calendar this week to push most fall sports to the spring semester.
Specifically, the state is delaying “moderate-and-high risk” fall sports of (small school) boys’ soccer, girls’ volleyball, and football to early spring. Other lower-risk fall sports, like cross country, slowpitch softball, and the ‘alternative seasons’ for golf and tennis, are being delayed until September 7.
Girls’ swimming is a fall sport in Washington; the state is tentatively including the sport as part of its “Season 1” that will begin in early September, but with an asterisk that they are waiting for more information from the Department of Health to confirm that.
If certain benchmarks aren’t met to hold fall sports this fall, those sports, including girls’ swimming & diving, will move to “Season 3” of the calendar, which will begin in mid-spring.
WIAA 2020-2021 High School Sports Plan
- WIAA Season 1 (practices begin September 7): Cross Country, Slowpitch Softball, Girls Swim & Dive*, Golf (Alternative Season), Tennis (Alternative Season)
- WIAA Season 2 (late December or early January): Basketball, Bowling, Boys Swim & Dive, Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Wrestling
- WIAA Season 3: Volleyball, Girls Soccer, 1B/2B Boys Soccer, Football
- WIAA Season 4: Tennis, Fastpitch Softball, Track & Field, Baseball, Golf, Boys Soccer, Dance/Drill
Dates above are tentative and pending final approval.
“The Board recognizes that participation in any fall sports will depend on county progression through the phases laid out in Governor Inslee’s Safe Start plan over the coming weeks,” the statement making the announcement reads. “The Executive Board will create benchmarks on July 28 to be met in order for WIAA Season 1 to take place. If the benchmarks are not met, the Board will plan to move the remainder of fall sports to WIAA Season 3.”
The delay on swimming & diving likely will revolve around the state’s decision on reopening pools. Currently, pools can reopen at 50% capacity once a county is moved to Phase 3. Currently, 16 out of the state’s 39 counties are in Phase 3.
Washington state was one of the earliest epicenters of the coronavirus outbreak in the United States, specifically in a Seattle-area nursing home. The state saw a decrease in cases in mid-April that held until about the middle of June, at which point the new positive test counts began climbing, as much of the country has seen, to record highs. The number of new cases has stabilized in the last week, however.
As the beginning of school years across the country draw nearer, high school state associations are rolling out decisions about fall sports across the country this week.
- California announced on Monday that it would push all of its sports until after the conclusion of the fall semester.
- Florida has announced that it will move forward with its fall sports seasons, which includes swimming & diving, as planned. Many schools and districts have balked, with some, like swimming power Pine Crest School, canceling their fall seasons, and others, like Miami-Dade County, threatening to leave the FHSAA altogether.
- The GHSA in Georgia announced via a 12-0 vote that it would postpone football by 2 weeks, while other sports remain on schedule. That means that the football regular season will begin September 4 instead of August 21. After an 8-4 vote against remaining on schedule, Jasper Jewell, a member of the board and the athletic director of Atlantic Public Schools, said he was afraid that his district might cancel fall sports altogether if the season wasn’t delayed. That, and other discussions, wound up pushing unanimous support toward a two-week delay.
- South Carolina and North Carolina both postponed their fall high school sports schedules until September last week. South Carolina also has a very early State Championship meet, scheduled for early October.
- Michigan announced that it would plan to begin fall sports as usual, which includes girls swimming & diving. Practices for all fall sports besides football can begin August 12. The school has remained open to the possibility of having to suspend those sports during the season, at which point they’d be rescheduled for later in the year. Indoor pools in Michigan are still not open.