VHSL releases potential schedule for altered season structure

by Kelley Pearson, Sports Editor

On Monday, the VHSL released a proposal for the altered sports schedule for the 2020-2021 season.

Earlier in the year, the VHSL Executive Committee voted to postpone playing sports until late December due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the approval of Model 3, season one would be winter sports and would range from December 14 – February 20 with the first contest date at December 28. Season two would be fall sports and would run from February 15 – May 1 with the first contact date being March 1. Season three would be spring sports and would run from April 12 – June 26 with the first contest date at April 26.

Under the new proposal, approximately 60% of games will be played including 14 basketball games, six football games, 12 volleyball games, and 12 baseball and softball games.

During winter sports, boys and girls basketball would begin official practices on December 7 with their first game scheduled as early as Dec. 21. Regional tournaments would begin on February 8, state semifinals on Feb. 16 and state championships on Feb. 20.

Wrestling would have eight events that could begin as early as Dec. 28. Regional championships would be scheduled for Feb. 1 and state championships would be Feb. 18-20. The state championship would consist of eight-person brackets.

Indoor track, swimming and diving would be released to compete as early as Dec. 28. Regional finals for indoor track would be Feb. 1 with state finals being Feb. 13.

Fall sports will begin with football and competition cheer practice on Feb. 4 with the first football games being held the week of Feb. 22.

The regular season would run seven weeks with each team playing a maximum of six games. Regional championships would fall on April 17 with the state title games played May 1.

Cross-country, golf, volleyball and competition cheer would open their seasons on March 1. Volleyball could play 12 matches, cross-country would have six meets, competition cheer would have three events and golf would have eight tournaments.

Volleyball regional championships would be held on April 17 with the state championships set for April 23-24.

Cross-country would see a region start date of April 12 with the VHSL finals on April 23-24. Those who would qualify for state would be the top five individual finishers in each region plus the regional championship teams.

Boys’ golf would see a regional championship start date of April 12 with the VHSL finals of April 19. Girls’ golf would be have a state championship of April 26.

Spring sports would get started in April with tennis having the first match date scheduled as early as April 21. Boys’ and girls’ soccer, baseball, softball and track would have opening dates of April 26.

Baseball and softball would have 12 games apiece. Soccer would have 10 matches. Track and field would have nine meets.

Baseball, softball and soccer would see their regions start as early as June 14 with the state championship games played on June 26. Tennis regionals could start as early as May 20 with state championship tournaments being held June 11-13. Track and field would begin regions on June 7 with state championships being June 18-19.

VHSL executive director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun was quick to point out that this is only a proposal and not the final plan.

“I want to be clear that this work session was not intended to produce a final plan. The purpose of the work session was to provide a draft to the Executive Committee for the FY2021 sports and academic season and for the process of building a plan for regular season and postseason,” Haun said.  “The various staff meetings with coaches, athletic directors, principals, and superintendent representatives discussed at length the challenges, including health, safety, and financial considerations of implementing any schedule options.

“We appreciate the hard work and feedback our region athletic directors, coaches, principals, and other representatives provided to our staff during region meetings and through our coaches advisory committees. Our newly formed Student Advisory Committee also provided invaluable feedback as well. The VHSL is fortunate to have a dedicated group of school administrators and coaches who are working tirelessly during these unprecedented times on behalf of all students, as we plan for athletics and academic activities for the upcoming year.”