WIAA: Football, other fall sports could start in February


Traditional fall sports get the go-ahead to go first, provided the region shows improvement with COVID-19 numbers

Mike Peck heard the news Wednesday night that football practice could start on Feb. 1.

He was shocked. He was stunned. He was surprised. 

Oh, and he was stoked.

“Everybody was expecting it to be in March, and then, all of a sudden, it’s in three weeks,” Peck said. “Let’s go.”

Prairie football coach Mike Peck, shown here prior to the 2019 season, said he was stunned Wednesday night when the WIAA announced football practice could start as early as Feb. 1. Photo by Mike Schultz
Prairie football coach Mike Peck, shown here prior to the 2019 season, said he was stunned Wednesday night when the WIAA announced football practice could start as early as Feb. 1. Photo by Mike Schultz

The head coach of Prairie High School football has a reason to be excited. But he is also cautious.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Wednesday night a new tentative schedule for high school sports this academic year as athletic departments deal with the pandemic. The plan remains to offer all sports, but the big change is that the traditional fall sports will go first. 

Football, volleyball, girls soccer, along with cross country and the alternate seasons of boys golf and boys tennis will have the option to start practice the first week of February.

Of course, this latest plan should come with one big asterisk.

Gov. Jay Inslee on Tuesday issued the “Healthy Washington — Roadmap to Recovery” plan, which, among many things, changed the way high school sports could take place in the state. Still, in order to play sports such as football, a region will have to be in Phase 2 of the roadmap. Currently, no region in the state would qualify.

The hope, though, is that some regions will move from Phase 1 to Phase 2 before Feb. 1.

For a look at how a region moves from Phase 1 to Phase 2, see the governor’s guidelines here: https://medium.com/wagovernor/inslee-announces-healthy-washington-roadmap-to-recovery-229b880a6859

Prior to Thursday’s change, the WIAA had planned for traditional winter sports to begin in February, and then having fall sports go next, followed by spring sports. Most fall sports are played outdoors, while winter sports are indoors.

Mick Hoffman, the executive director of the WIAA, said with no clear pathway to allowing for high-risk indoor sports of basketball, wrestling, and competitive cheer and dance, the association decided to push back that season. 

The WIAA is expected to address winter and spring sports schedules at its next board meeting Jan. 19. 

“We are hoping to receive more details that were not included in the Governor’s announcement on Tuesday, particularly surrounding indoor sports and activities,” Hoffman said in a WIAA press release. “As we continue to gather more information and evaluate the new metrics, the Board will be able to make better decisions about the remainder of the year.”

All sports seasons will be abbreviated in hopes of concluding in June. As of now, there is a week for a WIAA-sanctioned culminating event for each sport. But do not expect state championships to be played. If there is a football season, for example, there will not be a state playoff bracket. Which means Camas the next chance Camas will have at defending its 2019 state championship will be the fall season of 2021. 

Details of a football season will have to be worked out, but Peck is thrilled that there is new hope.

“If we play three games, I’ll be pumped,” Peck said. “As long as we get any games, I’ll be happy for the kids.”

For the full WIAA press release, go here: https://www.wiaa.com/News.aspx?ID=1755&Mon=1&Yr=2021

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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