Football in February?
The fate of high school sports in early 2021 remains in the limbo because of the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic, but in light of recent changes in guidance made at the state level, the WIAA has announced that it will move the traditional fall sports to WIAA Season 1 at its Jan. 19 meeting.
That means, if regions are able to move to Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s new reopening plan, in which competitions may begin, football, cross country, girls and 1B/2B boys soccer, girls swimming and volleyball are up first. Season 1 will also serve as an alternate season for golf and tennis.
The reopening plan, released this week, allows for all outdoor sports and low- and moderate-risk indoor sports to be played once a region gets to Phase 2.
“The change in guidelines allows all traditional fall sports to be played in Phase 2 while we still do not have a clear pathway to the high-risk indoor activities of basketball, competitive cheer and dance, and wrestling” WIAA executive director Mick Hoffman said. “With that in mind, moving fall sports to Season 1 will hopefully provide the most opportunities to participate.”
Season 1 will be seven weeks in length with practices beginning Feb. 1; it will end March 20, with some kind of regional culminating event. The ongoing open coaching period has been extended up to the day before the first season begins.
Each league and district has the flexibility to schedule the seasons to fit their local communities. The Wesco conference, which has mostly Snohomish County high schools, moved the start to their season back to Feb. 22 and will play spring sports after fall sports, followed by winter sports in the third season.
The WIAA has yet to amend its Season 2 and Season 3 schedule, but is expected to review them Jan. 19.
“We are hoping to receive more details that were not included in the governor’s announcement on Tuesday, particularly surrounding indoor sports and activities,” Hoffman said. “As we continue to gather more information and evaluate the new metrics, the board will be able to make better decisions about the remainder of the year.”