State high school sports is taking on a new look with the Tuesday evening decision by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Executive Board to alter the 2020-21 schedule.
The changes being brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic will create four WIAA-sanctioned seasons that will see medium to high-risk fall sports like football, volleyball, and girls and 1B/2B boys soccer moved to the spring. Cross country, slowpitch softball, girls swimming and diving, and golf and tennis will still be played in the fall, or Season 1, which runs from Sept. 7 to Nov. 8.
The dates, however, are not cast in stone should the state continue to see spikes in positive tests for the coronavirus.
“When you look at the dates, those are definitely written in pencil,” WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman said in a Zoom call with media members.
The fall season is especially tentative, Hoffman said as counties have to be in Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan.
Traditional winter sports like basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, boys swim and dive, and bowling falls under Season 2, which runs from Jan. 4 to March 7.
Those sports, however, could be pushed to the spring if the virus is still spiking.
“We know those sports are in peril, too,” Executive Board president Greg Whitmore said on the Zoom call. “A lot of things have to happen in our favor to have those happen.”
Season 3, or spring sports which include football, volleyball, girls and 1B/2B boys soccer, is tentatively scheduled for March 1 to May 2. Volleyball and soccer, Hoffman said are considered to be moderate-risk sports, but cannot be played unless the state is in Phase 4 of the recovery plan. Football and wrestling are considered high-risk sports, which requires counties to be in Phase 4-plus.
Season 4, with all the normal spring sports of baseball, fastpitch softball, tennis, golf, boys soccer, and track and field is scheduled to run from April 26 to June 27.
The WIAA currently has no postseason plans on the table.
"Since March, the philosophy of our association has been to allow students every chance to participate," Hoffman said in a post on the WIAA website. “We've asked our executive board and planning committees to be as creative as possible in allowing for those opportunities. These are tough and unprecedented decisions to make, but it has been inspiring to see so many people around the state come together to work on behalf of students."
Visit the WIAA website for updates.