SEATTLE (AP) — The governing body of high school sports in Washington state has decided to move the football season to the spring of 2021 because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Seattle Times reports the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association on Tuesday night announced the delaying of the season.
For the 2020-21 school year, cross country, slowpitch softball, girls swimming and golf, and tennis will be in the fall.
The WIAA will take a break during November and December, and in early January the normal winter sports – basketball, bowling, boys swimming and diving, gymnastics, cheerleading, and wrestling – will take place.
The football season would now run from early March into May. Moving football, which officials say is considered high-risk for COVID-19 exposure, would allow games to be played when the outbreak might be better under control.
“Since March, the philosophy of our Association has been to allow students every chance to participate,” said WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman. “We’ve asked our Executive Board and planning committees to be as creative as possible in allowing for those opportunities.
“These are tough and unprecedented decisions to make, but it has been inspiring to see so many people around the state come together to work on behalf of students.”
However, officials acknowledged that even the sports considered low risk now slated for the fall could see their seasons pushed back.
It’s possible, Executive Board president Greg Whitmore said, that those sports could be pushed into spring and no sports are played in Washington before January if the virus is still spiking across the state.
“We know those sports are in peril, too,” Whitmore said. “A lot of things have to happen in our favor to have those happen.”