Washington moves high school football to Spring 2021

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The State of Washington is the fourth state to move high school football to the Spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Tuesday, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association made the decision to create a four-season sports calendar with football expected to start in “Season 3” in March and run through the beginning of May.

New WIAA 2020-21 Schedule

WIAA Season 1 (September 7 – November 8) : Cross Country, Slowpitch Softball, Girls Swim & Dive*, Golf (Alternative Season), Tennis (Alternative Season)

WIAA Season 2 (January 4 – March 7) : Basketball, Bowling, Boys Swim & Dive, Gymnastics, Cheerleading, Wrestling

WIAA Season 3 (March 1 – May 2) : Volleyball, Girls Soccer, 1B/2B Boys Soccer, Football

WIAA Season 4 (April 26 – June 27) : Tennis, Fastpitch Softball, Track & Field, Baseball, Golf, Boys Soccer, Dance/Drill

“Since March, the philosophy of our Association has been to allow students every chance to participate,” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. “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.”

Earlier this month, the state governing body was hoping to start the football season on September 18.

Read: Washington hoping to start high school football in September

California, New Mexico and Virginia are the other three states that have pushed high school football in the Spring sports season.

Read: Which states have moved their 2020 high school football schedules

Below is the WIAA’s entire news release:

RENTON, Wash. – The WIAA Executive Board took action on Tuesday to modify the 2020-21 WIAA sports season calendar in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The changes will create four WIAA-sanctioned seasons and will also move moderate- and high-risk team sports, originally scheduled for the fall season, to the WIAA Season 3.

The fall sports of cross country, slowpitch softball, as well as alternative seasons for golf and tennis, have been determined to consist of WIAA Season 1 and will each begin practices the week of September 7, a date determined by the Executive Board at a previous meeting. The viability of girls’ swim and dive taking place in WIAA Season 1 is dependent on more information from the Department of Health.

The remaining fall sports of girls’ soccer, 1B/2B boys soccer, volleyball and football will now be scheduled to begin in the early spring of 2021 as part of WIAA Season 3.

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 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.

Traditional winter sports will all take place in WIAA Season 2 with the expectation to begin in late December or early January. Traditional spring sports will occupy WIAA Season 4 to end the school year.

The supporting document below provides tentative dates of when seasons could potentially start and end, but a final decision has not been determined by the Board.

“Since March, the philosophy of our Association has been to allow students every chance to participate,” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. “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.”

The WIAA Executive Board and planning committees are working under the Return-To-Activity Guidelines supported and co-authored by the National Federation of High Schools, Washington Department of Health and the Governor’s Office, as well as sport-specific guidelines set forth by WIAA committees made up of coaches, athletic directors, students, officials and local health professionals. Those guidelines can be found on the WIAA Website.

WIAA Season 1: Cross Country, Slowpitch Softball, Girls Swim & Dive*, Golf (Alternative Season), Tennis (Alternative Season)

WIAA Season 2: 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

VIEW THE TENTATIVE CALENDAR

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Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.