The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, staring down spiking COVID-19 cases across the state, decided late Tuesday to push back the high-school sports calendar four weeks.
That was decision of the WIAA’s Executive Board, whose 13 members met virtually from across the state.
Under the new calendar, winter sports would begin practicing Feb. 1 and end March 20. What was originally the fall sports season, which was pushed back into spring, would begin March 15 (March 8 for football) and run until May 1. The spring season would run from April 26 to June 12.
Each season was shortened to seven weeks and would end with a regional championship rather than a state championship.
In the WIAA’s revamped sports calendar, which was released over the summer, winter sports were to begin practicing Dec. 28. Basketball and wrestling are winter sports and are deemed “high-risk.”
According to guidelines released by the WIAA last month, following guidelines from the Governor’s office and the State Department of Health, for the schools within a specific county to participate in high-risk sports, that county must report infection rates well below what most counties in the state are reporting (25 cases per 100,000 over 14 days, greater than 5% positive tests).
Gymnastics and bowling, also winter sports, are considered “medium-risk.” Most counties are reporting rates too high for those sports (25-75 cases, less than 5%). Boys swimming and diving is the only winter sport considered a “low-risk” sport.
With the seasons pushed back, the Executive Board approved keeping the Open Coaching Window open until Jan. 23. That allows for coaches to work with athletes as they might over the summer.