High-school state championships in Washington could be the latest thing lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced more changes Tuesday as it tries to field sports for the 2020-21 academic year.

The Executive Board, made up of 13 school administrators from across the state, decided that for a season to take place, 50 percent of the schools in a region must be eligible (as determined by COVID-19 metrics) for league games.

The Board also decided that seasons will likely culminate in a regional championship rather than a state championship. While COVID-19 numbers would make that scenario likely, the WIAA hasn’t shut the door on holding a state tournament.

“(We’re) not eliminating it,” WIAA sports and activities information director Casey Johnson said. “But certain things would have to happen.”

What those regional events would look like are up in the air, but a “Final Four” scenario is likely to be played at a high school. The WIAA is allowing league and districts to decide how teams would qualify for those events. The details for culminating events for sports such as swimming and diving and cross country are being worked out.


A region would need eight schools in a classification in a particular sport to hold a regional championship. If those requirements can’t be met, regions could combine.

These latest decisions give the WIAA flexibility to get any sports it can up and running. If schools are unable to meet the 50 percent threshold, the WIAA has the flexibility to move that sport to a different season.

Last month, the WIAA released guidelines on how sports could return to play using guidance from the Governor’s office and the Department of Health. A school’s ability to return to play will be based on the number of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in its county along with the percentage of positive tests.

The WIAA is divided up into three regions. Region A has Districts 1 and 2 (which includes the WesCo, KingCo and Metro leagues). Region B has Districts 3 and 4 (which includes South King County and goes down to the Oregon border). Region C encompasses all of Eastern Washington.

The next season in the WIAA’s revamped calendar is winter (which includes basketball, wrestling, swimming and diving and gymnastics), which is to begin practice Dec. 28. The WIAA guidelines classify sports by risk, and basketball and wrestling fall into high-risk categories. Swimming falls into the low-risk category and gymnastics are medium risk.

According to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, King and Snohomish counties’ numbers would not allow for even medium-risk sports to be played were the season to start today.