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Friday night lights unlikely in 2020




The Virginia High School League officials held a meeting by Zoom Wednesday to discuss the options for Fall sports. Of the three options proposed by VHSL Executive Director Billy Haun, none included football in the Fall.


The first option recommends leaving all seasons as they are with only low to moderate risk sports taking place. That would mean golf and cross country would go on as usual. It would also mean no football, volleyball, field hockey or competition cheer, as all of those sports are considered high risk.


The second option recommends flipping Fall and Spring sports seasons. This option would see all spring sports with the exception of field hockey to be played during the Fall. Football, volleyball, competition cheer and cross country would take place in the Spring.


The third and final option condenses all three seasons and has a later start date. Winter sports would take place from Dec. 14 to Feb. 20. Fall sports would run from Feb. 15 through May 1. Spring sports would then run from April 12 through June 26.

“It’s important to remember that in all of these models playing sports in the high risk category depends on being out of the current Phase 3 guidelines,” Haun said. “All our efforts will continue toward advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way that will protect athletes, activity participants, coaches, officials and the public. The VHSL will continue making judgements based on the best available information and directives provided by the Goernor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).”


Other options could be considered between now and the time a final decision is made, but at this time these are the three options on the table. The Executive Committee voted to delay the beginning of fall sports indefinitely or until a decision is reached on July 27 and to suspend the July-August dead period for 2020.


Of the three options, none involve Fall football. Two of the options put football being played in the spring.


One of the biggest issues that may arise from either of the final two options is the problem it would cause for multiple sport athletes. If football is going on at the same time as basketball, baseball or soccer, there are going to be at least several players who may have to give up a sport. The weather could also be an issue in the winter and spring for outdoor sports.


Other arguments against the proposals could include the issues it may cause for athletes planning to play college sports next season. If a player is likely to play college football in the Fall, some coaches may ask them to not play football if it’s held in the Spring to avoid the chances of injury. Another concern is that if Virginia doesn’t have Fall football, many players may elect to move to neighboring states where football is taking place. The financial impact of those lost students will hurt school funding in a bad way.


Financially, the loss of football will impact all schools. Most schools rely on revenue generated during football season to fund their entire sports programs for the year. Football and basketball are the two biggest draws for ticket sales each year.


A final decision is likely coming when the VHSL meets again on July 27.



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