WIAA pushes winter sports to the back of the schedule

Fall sports still set to begin in February, followed by spring sports, then winter

Remember when basketball was going to be first?

Now, it’s going to be last.

And spring sports have sprung forward. 

It is all part of the WIAA’s latest response to the pandemic.

Traditional fall sports are set to begin in February. Cross country and other low-risk sports are a go, with athletes starting to practice on Feb. 1. Moderate to high-risk sports, such as football, girls soccer, and volleyball, have to wait until the region is in Phase 2 of the state’s latest recovery path.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced late Tuesday that winter sports will not follow fall sports this year, though.

Winter sports have now been pushed to the end of the academic year and are now scheduled from April 26 to June 12. This gives winter sports — basketball, wrestling, gymnastics, bowling, and boys swimming — more time. All winter sports are played indoors.

“Based on the risk levels assigned to traditional winter activities compared to traditional spring activities, the executive board made the decision that those spring activities will have the opportunity to play much earlier than winter activities,” said Mick Hoffman, executive director of the WIAA.

Spring sports, all played outdoors, will go from March 15 through May 1.

By now, all should realize that these schedules are tentative. 

In an earlier tentative schedule, winter sports were going to be the first competition of the 2020-21 academic/athletic year. Practice was to begin in the final week of December. 

As the number of COVID-19 cases surged, the schedule had to be changed again. First, the winter season was pushed to Feb. 1. Then, in early January, the WIAA moved fall sports to the head of the line, giving fall sports the Feb. 1 opening date. The winter and spring sports were still to be determined.

Tuesday, the winter and spring sports seasons were given new dates.

For the full-season calendar and a summary of current state guidelines regarding high school sports during the pandemic, go to the WIAA’s COVID-19 page at: WIAA.com/COVID