No fall football for Va. high schools
Fred Jeter | 7/30/2020, 6 p.m.
The Virginia High School League, which governs most public school athletics across the state, has called timeout on all fall sports because of COVID-19.
At a special executive session Monday in Charlottesville, the VHSL voted 34-1 to postpone fall sports until spring.
Fall sports, including football, cross country, golf, field hockey, cheerleading and volleyball, are now set for Feb. 15 to May 1, with practice beginning on Feb. 15.
The atmosphere will be much different on game days. Attendance for all VHSL activities will be capped at 250 people, including participants.
For schools with large marching bands, this would leave little space for fans in the stands.
It also will have a dramatic impact on ticket sales for football and basketball, the “money makers” for high schools.
Traditionally, area high school football practice starts in early August, with most schools opening their seasons in September. The sport continues through December, with five weekends of playoffs.
Under the VHSL decision, winter sports — basketball, swimming and diving, indoor track and wrestling — will be moved to Dec. 14 to Feb. 20.
This isn’t too far from normal. Most winter sports begin practicing in mid-November and continue into early March.
Least affected are spring sports, now set for April 12 to June 26. That includes baseball, softball, outdoor track, tennis, lacrosse and soccer.
Decisions have not been made on possible postseason playoff plans. Virginia Commonwealth University’s Siegel Center has been utilized for the State Basketball Tournament for many years.
Dr. John “Billy” Haun, VHSL president, noted that “everything is subject to change” based on pandemic updates.
It is likely any future changes would result in pushing the schedules to later dates.