As widely expected, the Virginia High School League voted on Monday to select the Condensed interscholastic Plan (Model 3) for sports and activities across the Commonwealth this season.
Model 3 delays all VHSL sports and activities until mid-December and leaves all sports in the season where they are currently aligned.
Under the plan, high-school sports will begin with the winter season. Practice would begin on December 14 with games starting on or after December 28 for basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and wrestling.
Traditional fall sports (cheer, cross-country, field hockey, football, golf and volleyball) will run from February 15 – May 1 with the first game date on March 1.
The spring sports season (baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and track and field) will begin on April 12 and run through June 26 with the first game date on April 26.
“We all understand the physical and mental health benefits of getting our students back to a level of participation. The Condensed Interscholastic Plan leaves open the opportunity to play all sports in all three seasons if Virginia moves beyond Phase III and/or Phase III guidelines are revised and High Risk Activities are allowed,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “This plan also allows schools the opportunity to open the year and get school started and deal with issues such as schedules, academic plans, transportation and dealing with possible outbreaks of COVID in the school.
“The VHSL will continue to work closely with the best available information and directives provided by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).” Haun said.
The VHSL Executive Committee approved the measure by a 34-1-0 vote.
Park View HS athletic director Michael Barmoy said the decision by the VHSL was expected.
“Out of the three models, that gives everyone the most hope,” he said. “There are still a lot of questions to be answered.”
During a Q&A session with state media, Haun said the released schedule and guidelines are based on Virginia still being in or beyond Phase 3 when athletics begin.
“The plan adopted today is for Phase 3,” he said. “If we move beyond Phase 3 or we back up, we would have to look at a different plan.”
He said under Phase 3 guidelines, maximum attendance at VHSL sporting events would be 250 persons which would include everyone - players, coaches, scorekeepers, media members and spectators.
Concerning potential playoffs, Haun said the Executive Committee will form sub-committees to begin looking at the details moving forward.
“It could be more sectional or regional,” he said. “We will have to figure out what that looks like.”
Haun said in the end, the hope is that high-school sports can be played.
“We know high school athletics are important to the educational process,” he said. “We want to keep these student-athletes engaged.”