The Virginia High School League took another step Monday toward ironing out details on the shortened sports seasons and playoff formats for the 2020-2021 school year.
Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun, VHSL executive director, presented a plan to the group’s executive committee. Nothing was finalized on Monday. The executive committee will meet on September 3 when the plan could be adopted.
“I want to be clear that this work session was not intended to produce a final plan,” said Haun. “The purpose of the work session was to provide a draft to the executive committee for the FY2021 sports and academic season and for the process of building a plan for regular season and postseason.
“We appreciate the hard work and feedback our region athletic directors, coaches, principals and other representatives provided to our staff during region meetings and through our coaches advisory committees. The VHSL is fortunate to have a dedicated group of school administrators and coaches who are working tirelessly during these unprecedented times on behalf of all students, as we plan for athletics and academic activities for the upcoming year.”
Highlights of the plan include:
• Every sport will have a state championship;
• Any game not played because of a COVID-19 issue will be considered no game, not a forfeit;
• State tournaments in most team sports — volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, tennis — will include just the region champions, eliminating state quarterfinals and creating a four-team state tournament bracket;
• Football will have a six-game regular season spread over seven weeks. Four teams in each region would make the playoffs. Teams not qualifying for the postseason would have the option of scheduling one additional game.
Suggested regular season football dates are:
Monday, February 22;
Saturday, February 27;
Friday, March 5;
Friday, March 12;
Friday, March 19;
Friday, March 26;
Friday, April 2;
School divisions could opt for six Friday night games;
• Other contest limits include 14 for basketball, 12 for baseball, softball and volleyball and 10 for soccer and tennis.
• The first day of basketball practice has been moved up one week from December 14 to December 7. First contest date will be December 21;
• Swimming, indoor track and outdoor track will not use standards to qualify athletes for the state meet. Swimming and outdoor track will qualify four athletes from region tournaments for state events and indoor track will qualify three. State meets will be one-day only. Wrestling will use an eight-person, one-day state tournament;
• Cross country will advance one team and five individuals from regional meets for state meet;
• Golf will advance one team and three individuals from regional meets for state tournament;
• There will be no automatic qualifiers for the girls state golf tournament. All participants will come through state qualifying events;
• Officiating is a concern with some college conferences playing both fall and spring sports next spring. Basketball could be limited to two-person crews and football could be 4-or-5 person crews;
• Districts will be allowed to have tournaments and games will not be counted toward contest limits.
More on the proposed plan, including thoughts from area athletic directors will appear in Thursday’s Virginian Review.