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The Virginia High School League presented a draft Monday to its executive committee outlining more specifics on the 2020-21 sports schedule for the regular season and state championships.

On July 27, the executive committee adopted a compressed high school sports scheduling plan that would run from December to July. The schedule would begin with the winter sports season followed by the traditional fall sports season and ending with the spring sports season.

With those parameters in place, the next step was to receive input from coaches, athletic directors/principals and superintendent representatives to then formulate a regular-season and postseason format with each sport playing 60 percent of its typically allotted regular-season games.

The executive committee will meet again Sept. 3 for further discussion.

“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,” said VHSL Executive Director, Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun.  “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."

It was recommended that football play six regular-season games over seven available dates so that a bye week could be included. For safety reasons, the first two games would be played on Feb. 22 (Monday) and Feb. 27 (Saturday). The rest of the dates would fall on Fridays (March 5, 12, 19, 26 and April 2).

Schools can schedule six Friday night football games if they so choose.

Basketball would play 14 regular-season games with the first practice scheduled for Dec. 7 and the first night of games Dec. 21. The state semifinals would be Feb. 16 and the state finals Feb. 20.

District tournaments would be allowed and not count against the regular-season limit. Teams not participating in region tournaments will be allowed to schedule one additional game that must be completed by region deadline

Any game not played due to COVID-19 issues will be counted as a game not played instead of a forfeit.

All sports would have state championships, but there would be no state quarterfinals. 

Each region will advance one team to the state tournament in all sports. Team state championships will be hosted by the team at the top of the bracket if the venue meets VHSL state tournament site requirements. If not, the game would be hosted in a facility in the geographic area that meets the requirements. State championships would run as one-day events and there would be one week of region tournaments and one week for state semifinals and finals.

“I know there will be some people and coaches concerned with this one,” Haun said. “They won’t see it as a fair issue to play at the site of the ‘home’ team … but with all the things we have to do to be safe and worry about COVID … people may not be willing to bring in teams that aren’t their own into their facility because of all the extra safety things required."

Also for state tournaments:

Indoor track and swim and dive state meets are tentative due to venue availability.

Wrestling would be 8-person brackets and one-day state tournaments.

Cross country would advance state competition based on region finish (one team and top five individuals)

Indoor track would qualify the top three region finishers in each event (standards will not be used for the 2020-2021 state meet)

Outdoor track would qualify the top four region finishers in each event (standards will not be used for the 2020-21 state meet)

Swimming and diving would qualify top four region finishers in each event (standards will not be used for the 2020-21 state meet)

Golf boys would qualify 1 team and three individuals per region

Golf girls would qualify through zone qualifiers, there will be no automatic qualifiers

Gymnastics will be one team per region and top three individuals per region for each event (standards will not be used for the 2020-21 state meet)

Other recommendations:

Districts will create all district schedules and create protocols for handing situations for games affected by COVID-19

District/regions will be responsible for implementing all guidelines and recommendations approved by the VHSL Executive Committee that are designed to decrease exposure to COVID-19 and protect student-athletes, coaches, officials, game administration and fans.

The issue of spectators was also discussed Monday. Haun said he plans to meet with the governor’s office as well as the Virginia Department of Health about expanding the number of people allowed to attend a school event. At the moment, that number is a maximum of 250.

Haun said his first request is to have 50 percent of the venue’s capacity allowed in with social distancing requirements in place. If that request is denied, then Haun said he will ask for a 1,000 people in attendance. If that is denied as well, then the number will remain at 250.

“Once I get some more details I’m going to set up a meeting with the governor’s office and the [VDH] and I’m going to recommend, ask, push — all three of those words — at minimum we’d be allowed to have a thousand because that’s what the guidelines say for recreation events,” Haun said.

The issue of having enough officials was discussed as well. Two-person basketball officiating crews and four-to-five person officiating crews could happen.

Below is the proposed calendar for all three seasons. 

Season 1 – Winter Sports

Activity

Number of Contests

MPR

First Practice

First Contest

Region Start

Region Deadline

VHSL Semi-Finals

VHSL Finals

Basketball

14

8

12/07

12/21

02/08

02/13

02/16

02/20

Gymnastics

6

8

12/14

12/28

02/01

02/06

NA

02/12-13

Indoor Track

6

8

12/14

12/28

02/01

02/06

NA

02/13

Sideline Cheer

NA

20

12/14

01/06

NA

NA

NA

NA

Swim & Dive

6

8

12/14

12/28

02/03

02/06

NA

02/13

Wrestling

8

8

12/14

12/28

02/01

02/13

NA

02/18-20

 

 

 

Season 2 – Fall Sports

Activity

Number of Contests

MPR

First Practice

First Contest

Region Start

Region Deadline

VHSL Semi-Finals

VHSL Finals

Competition Cheer

3

20

02/04

03/01

04/05

04/10

NA

04/17

Cross Country

6

8

02/15

03/01

04/12

04/17

NA

04/23-24

Field Hockey

10

8

02/15

03/01

04/12

04/17

04/20

04/22-24

Football

6

15

02/04

02/22

04/07

04/17

04/24

05/01

Golf (Boys)

8

NA

02/15

03/01

04/12

04/15

NA

04/19

Golf (Girls)

8

NA

02/15

03/01

NA

NA

04/21-22

04/26

Volleyball

12

8

02/15

03/01

04/12

04/17

04/20

04/23-24

 

 

Season 3 – Spring Sports

Activity

Number of Contests

MPR

First Practice

First Contest

Region Start

Region Deadline

VHSL Semi-Finals

VHSL Finals

Baseball

12

8

04/12

04/26

06/14

06/19

06/22

06/26

Lacrosse

9

8

04/12

04/26

06/14

06/19

06/22

06/26

Soccer

10

8

04/12

04/26

06/14

06/19

06/22

06/26

Softball

12

8

04/12

04/26

06/14

06/19

06/22

06/26

Tennis

10

8

04/12

04/21

05/20

06/05

06/07

06/11-13

Track & Field

9

8

04/12

04/26

06/7

06/12

NA

06/18-19

David Fawcett is the sports editor for InsideNoVa.com. Reach him at dfawcett@insidenova.com

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