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VHSL approves game plan for regular, postseason




Coaches across the Commonwealth will now move with a bit more purpose as the Virginia High School League officially approved a plan Thursday for regular and postseason scheduling for the 2020-21 season.


“We have received invaluable input from our school communities, parents, and students who say the physical and mental health benefits of getting our students back to a level of participation is extremely important,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun.   “The Championships + 1 schedule will provide sports in all three seasons.


The plan, which was originally floated across the desks of VHSL officials Aug. 24, passed as originally proposed with mostly only minor changes.


The one major change to the original plan came after further study showed that cross country athletes would be shorted if not changed. The original plan for all sports would have left a larger portion of cross country athletes out of postseason action compared to other sports. The updated plan will now send two cross country teams and three individual finishers from each regional meet to the state finals.


The now effective plan will see basketball, indoor track, swimming and wrestling start practice in mid-December and first contests coming within two weeks of that. Basketball will feature the first contests beginning Dec. 21 and will have 14 regular season games.


All other sports in this initial season will begin their contests Dec. 28. Track and swimming will have six meets each. Wrestling will be allowed eight meets.


Season Two will feature competition cheer, cross country, football, golf, volleyball and field hockey for the schools that feature that sport. Football will begin games Feb. 22 and will see each team play six regular season games. The other sports will begin games and meets March 1. Volleyball will feature 12 matches. Golf will have eight matches. Cross country will have six and competition cheer will have three meets.


The final season will feature baseball, softball, soccer, tennis, outdoor track and lacrosse, for the schools that feature that sport. Baseball and softball will begin games April 26 with 12 regular season games each. Soccer will also begin April 26 with 10 games. Tennis will begin April 21 with 10 matches and track will begin April 26 with nine regular season meets allowed.


“The VHSL Executive Committee acknowledges that no plan is perfect,” said Haun. “We are in unprecedented times in which we have been forced to create a temporary new normal. We understand this plan, or any plan, will not meet the expectations for those wanting a normal fall, winter, and spring sports season. This plan, however, will allow student-athletes and academic activity participants the opportunity of having a season and playing for a state championship.”


The plan also addressed amended “dead periods” for out-of-season practices and set up an altered and abbreviated playoff setup for each sport.


The new calendar allows for one week of region tournaments and one region will advance one team to the state tournament. Teams not participating in the region tournaments will be allowed to schedule one additional game/contest that must be completed by the region deadline.


Team state championships will be a one-day event, when possible, to eliminate travel expenses as much as possible and prevent schools from having to use overnight accommodations. Team state championships will also be hosted by the team at the top of the bracket, as long as the venue meets VHSL Tournament Site Requirements. Otherwise, the game will be hosted in a facility in the geographic region of that team.


For wrestling, each state title bracket will be an eight-person bracket and a one-day tournament. Swimming will send the top four region finishers in each event to the state meet. Indoor track will send the top three finishers and outdoor track will send the top four finishers. Golf will qualify one team and three individuals per region.



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