The return of high school sports will be delayed another month and each season got a little bit shorter, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Wednesday.
Due to rising cases statewide of COVID-19, the WIAA Executive Board voted Tuesday night to delay the return of high school sports to Feb. 1 and condense each WIAA season to seven weeks.
The decision was made after Gov. Jay Inslee implemented new statewide COVID-19 restrictions this week that will remain in place at least four weeks.
Under a revised 2020-21 calendar released by the WIAA last summer, Season 2 comprised of traditional winter sports like basketball and wrestling was scheduled to start practices on Dec. 28 with an eight-week season running in January and February.
But after Tuesday’s decision, Season 2 practices are now scheduled to begin Feb. 1 (Jan. 25 for gymnastics), with competition beginning Feb. 8 and a culminating regional event on March 20.
Season 3, comprised of traditional fall sports, will begin practices on March 15, with competition running from March 22 through a culminating event on May 1.
And finally Season 4, comprised of traditional spring sports, will begin practices on April 26 with competition running from May 3 through a culminating event on June 12.
In addition to the changes in the 2020-21 season, the Executive Board also approved an extension of the WIAA Open Coaching Window to Jan. 23. This allows coaches to work with athletes in a similar fashion to the summer coaching window.
On Nov. 2, the board announced the creation of regional events in lieu of state meets and tournaments in 2020-21. Schools in WIAA District 4 in Southwest Washington were placed into Region 2 with schools in District 3, which encompasses the Tacoma-area and Olympic Peninsula.
The board also announced that if fewer than 50 percent of schools in a particular region and classification are unable to compete in a sport, in accordance to state health guidelines, the WIAA will make an adjustments to the schedule season in order to allow the chance for greater participation.
During Season 1 of the 2020-21 calendar, the WIAA gave schools the option of holding alternate seasons for sports like cross country, golf and tennis in September and October. However, no school district in the state decided to take advantage of that option.