Charlottesville, Va. – It’s not the news high school sports fans wanted today, but it’s not all doom and gloom either. The VHSL Executive Committee meeting could not put forward a recommendation for fall sports schedules. Executive Director Dr. Billy Haun says it’s just too soon to tell.
“I think we can make a more informed decision about it, a well-informed decision. We will have more data in four weeks, eight weeks than what we have right now. We have no idea what phase schools will be open-- what phases schools will be in when they open. We have no idea how long will be in phase 3. We only stayed in phase 2 for two weeks. How long will we stay in phase 3? Will we stay three weeks, four weeks, two months, six months. I think that’s a big question,” Haun said.
“I think patience is going to prevail here, I really do. That’s just my personal opinion but as I always say never right but never in doubt but always wrong. I think patience is gonna prevail here and there is going to be some decisions that they are going to have to be made come July and August with again -- more information and time and distance in terms of what’s been going on this summer,” Executive committee chairman Ty Gafford said.
“Some of this is the fact too, I think, the waters are starting to be muddied a little bit with travel teams that are starting to play again traveling to other places. They’re going to North Carolina, they going wherever and a lot of people saying - ‘Well travel teams are playing, then why aren’t the schools saying they’re going to play.‘? I agree that the league staff has been very cautious and rightfully so, about implementing and wanting to do this the right way. So that the kids and the coaches in the communities are jeopardized with being in not safe conditions, " Gafford said.
The VHSL’s job is to serve all students, and as they await a move out of phase 3--where social distancing doesn’t halt competition. What is that doesn’t happen for the entire fall? Do fall sports lose an entire season? The VHSL has been sharing models with other states, looking for possible solutions that would give everyone a chance to play-- this school year. “Is there a model and are we thinking outside the box for something else that we could do and we maybe could look at at some thing? Obviously you’ll be talking about reduced number of games, a reduced schedule, but season one really is your winter schedule, season two is your fall schedule, and season three is your spring sports,” Dr. Haun explained.
The dates and sports for the model that was shown in the meeting were as follows:
Season 1: December 13 -February 20 (Winter Sports: Basketball, Gymnastics, Indoor track, Swimming and Diving, Wrestling, 5 & 6 Theatre, Scholastic Bowl.)
Season 2: February 15- May 1 (Fall Sports: Competitive Cheer, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Golf, Volleyball Forensics and Debate.)
Season 3: April 12- June 26: ( Spring Sports: Baseball & Softball, Girls and Boys Lacrosse, Soccer, Tennis and Track and FIeld.)
Dr. Haun stressed that they are thinking “out of the box” just in case the fall season gets pushed back too far by the Covid-19 restrictions. This model, while informative, is by no means a proposal. Just an example of anything and everything they are considering to try and get everyone a chance to compete.