WIAA approves fall sports seasons, will also offer alternate fall schedule
Schedule would allow schools that can maintain fall sports to compete, but also allows schools to move fall sports to spring.
STEVENS POINT, Wis. (WSAW) -The WIAA Board of Control voted to unanimously on Friday to approve an alternate fall schedule for the 2020-2021 sports season. The schedule will allow schools that are able to hold competitions this fall, to have a season. But if schools are unable to play during the traditional fall season, they now have the option to move the season to the spring. A spring season will be seven weeks of competition and will have no postseason tournament.
The alternate fall schedule option has girls swimming and diving starting practice February 8, volleyball February 22, football and girls tennis March 8, cross country March 15, boys soccer March 22 and girls golf March 29.
The WIAA determined in July low-risk fall sports can begin practice on Monday, August 17. High-risk fall sports, which include football and volleyball, can start practice on September 7th.
Winter and spring sports will both be adjusted to help prevent overlap with either fall season. The 2020-2021 winter season will be reduced by three weeks, with the exception of gymnastics which will be two weeks shorter. While the 2021 spring season will be two weeks shorter, except for girls soccer which will be three weeks shorter. Despite the reduction in length, there is no change to the maximum number of games allowed for all sports except football.
The amended spring season start dates include track and field, softball, baseball and boys golf all starting practice the week of April 5. Girls soccer practices can start on April 12, while boys tennis will start on April 19. WIAA Assistant Director Stephanie Hauser said the traditional spring sports will overlap with the alternate fall season option.
To help with scheduling, schools have until September 1 to decide which fall season they will be participating in. However, if schools are forced to opt-out of the traditional fall season due to COVID cases, they will be allowed to move to the spring season.
The board also discussed a few other accommodations including allowing basketball teams to continue scheduling and playing regular-season games even if they don’t make the tournament to offset the schedule changes. The WIAA will also no longer use risk levels to determine guidance, instead of centering around local-health imposed gathering limitations. The WIAA is also expected to give guidance to schools on how to quarantine positive cases.
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