CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - There will be no football in the fall for public high schools in the commonwealth this year.
The Virginia High School League announced three models for reopening sports during a special session on Wednesday, and in all three models, the fall season would go on without football.
Charlottesville football head coach Eric Sherry says, “What we all need to do is take a deep breath and realize it’s bigger than football right now. You start dealing with something like this, and we’re still trying to figure out how to open schools up, to get kids into schools.”
Monticello Athletic Director Pearman adds, “We enjoy seeing football. We want to see field hockey. We want our cross country meets. We want our volleyball games, and our theatre competitions, but we also want our students, our parents, and our community, to be safe.”
The first model leaves all sports in their current season, but any sport deemed high-contact (field hockey, football, volleyball, and cheer) would not be allowed.
Golf and cross country would be allowed to compete.
The second model switches the fall and spring seasons, moving low and mid-contact sports like track & field, tennis, soccer, baseball, and softball to autumn.
Boys and girls lacrosse is considered a high-risk sport, and would not be played at the earlier date.
Football would move to the spring in this model.
The third model is a condensed schedule, with every season getting approximately three months to complete.
The schedule would begin with winter sports on December 14th, move to fall sports on February 15th, and finish with spring sports on April 12th.
The spring season would conclude on June 26th.
Sherry says, “My hope is they pick option three, because I do feel like that gives the kids the best chance, in all sports, to come back and play.”
Pearman adds, “These are unconventional times, so we look for unconventional methods, to be able to continue to do what we do, and provide the opportunities for our students to participate in their sports this year.”
“It’s important to remember that in all these models playing sports in the high risk category depends on being out of the current Phase III guidelines,” says VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “All our efforts will continue towards advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way that will protect athletes, activity participants, coaches, officials, and the public.”
The 2020 VHSL spring sports season was canceled in March due to COVID-19.
Pearman says, “There’s plenty to be scared about right now, but we choose to take a different path, and be optimistic, and look forward, and do everything we can do to provide opportunities for the kids to play.”
Sherry adds, “This such a unique, horrible, circumstance, and I think at times like this you just hope that all these very bright people get together, and they can make the best decision, and the safest one, for everybody.”
The VHSL Executive Committee will choose one of the three options on July 27th.
Virginia High School League Media Release:
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – The VHSL Executive Committee met in special session Wednesday, July 15 for the purpose of discussing the fall sports season. The Executive unanimously voted (35-0-0) to meet on Monday, July 27, to vote on the three recommended models presented at the meeting for reopening sports and activities. The Committee also voted to delay the beginning of fall sports until a final decision is made on July 27. The Committee also suspended the July-August dead period for 2020 which means schools can continue out-of-season practice activities.
“It’s important to remember that in all these models playing sports in the high risk category depends on being out of the current Phase III guidelines. All our efforts will continue towards advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way that will protect athletes, activity participants, coaches, officials, and the public,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “The VHSL will continue making judgments based on the best available information and directives provided by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).”
Shannon Butler, VHSL executive committee chairwoman and principal at York High School, said, “The goal in all our discussions has been to provide our student-athletes and activity participants the best opportunity to return to the playing fields, courts, track, and stages during this school year in a safe environment as possible.
“Our decision today will allow members of the executive committee to collaborate with the regions and groups that they represent to make a decision on July 27 that is in the best interest of our students; moving forward – our ultimate goal would be to have all of our student athletes the opportunity to safely represent their schools on the playing field during the 2020-2021 school year”
The three models presented to the Executive Committee for the opening of sports/activities are as follows:
Model 1 – Leave all sports in current season. Low and moderate contact risks sports that would be allowed to play are golf and cross country. High risk sports that would not be played are field hockey, football, volleyball, and cheer. Fall activities that would be allowed is theatre.
Model 2 – Switch Fall and Spring seasons. Low and moderate contact risk sports that would be allowed to play in the fall are track and field, tennis, soccer, baseball, and softball. High risk sports that would not be played are boys/girls lacrosse. Spring activities that would be allowed are theatre, forensics/debate, and film festival
Model 3 – Delay all VHSL sports and adopt the Condensed Interscholastic Plan. Leave all sports in the season where they are currently aligned.
- Season 1 (Winter) December 14 – February 20 (First Contest Date – December 28)
- Season 2 (Fall) February 15 – May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
- Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)