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VHSL Announces Season Scheduling Plans For High School Sports

There may be a limited number of games, but at least high school athletes, coaches and fans have an idea of when games will be played.

On Thursday, in a specially called Executive Committee meeting in Charlottesville, the members voted unanimously 33-0-0 to adopt the so called “Championships + 1” schedule for the 2020-21 Athletic and Activities season.

“We have received invaluable input from our school communities, parents and students who say the physical and mental health benefits of getting our students back to a level participation is extremely important,” VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun said. “The Championships + 1? schedule will provide sports in all three sessions.”

“The VHSL Executive Committee acknowledges that no plan is perfect. We are in unprecedented times in which we have been forced to create a temporary new normal. We understand this plan, or any plan, will not meet the expectations for those wanting a normal, fall, winter and spring sports season. This plan, however, will allow student-athletes and academic activity participants the opportunity of having a season and playing for a state championship.”

The “Championships +1” plan begins with Season 1 (Winter Sports) running from December 7-February 20, with the first contest date being December 21. These sports include basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and diving, plus wrestling.

Season 2 (Typical Fall Sports) will be from February 4-May 1 with a first contest date of March 1. These sports include competition cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf and volleyball.

Season 3 (Spring Sports) will be from April 12-June 26 with the first contest date April 26. These include baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track and field.

Academic Activities will compete December through June and include Theater, Scholastic Bowl, Forensics, Debate, Robotics, Film Festival, Creative Writing, Publications Evaluation and Multimedia Contest.

High school basketball will shoot for December 21st as the first date a regular season game can be played in the VHSL”Championships + 1? format.

This plan allows for every sport to have a state championship and allows one week of regional tournaments and one week for a state tournament- semi-finals and finals. Each Region will advance 1 team to the state tournament in all sports. Team state championships will be hosted by the team at the top of the bracket as long as the venue meets VHSL State Tournament Site requirements, otherwise the game will be hosted in a facility in the geographic area that meets the requirements.

High school basketball will shoot for December 21st as the first date a regular season game can be played in the VHSL”Championships + 1? format.

State Championships will be one day events when possible to eliminate team/school expense, overnight accommodations, and meeting COVID-19 safety requirements for indoor facilities.

Teams not participating in region tournaments will be allowed to schedule one additional game/contest that must be completed by the region deadline.

Individual Districts, such as the River Ridge, Blue Ridge and Three Rivers for “Big-11?schools, will each create all district schedules and protocols for handling situations for games.

In addition, each sport will play 60% of the normal contests allowed. For example, football will be reduced from 10 games to 6, with 7 dates to play the six games. Basketball is reduced from 22 to 14 games, volleyball, softball and baseball 20 games to 12, field hockey, soccer and tennis 16 to 10, lacrosse 14 to 9, golf and wrestling12 to 8, cross country, swim/dive, track and field, and gymnastics 10 to 6, and competition cheer 5 to 3.

Any game not played due to COVID-19 issues will be treated as a game “not played” versus a forfeit.

There are still uncertainties about spectator attendance but one thing is definitive. A new look to high school sports is on the horizon for the upcoming season.

Bill Turner

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