WIAA format: Three seasons are crammed into four-plus months from Feb. 1 to June 7
WHATCOM — Postponements and continual changes have been the story of prep sports in the state since the coronavirus pandemic began way back last March.
New schedules have been released, but with them has also come the understanding that they could change again at any point.
And change they have.
High schools all over the state have yet to see any teams actually competing on a field or court this 2020-21 school year.
The latest adjustments made by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association were approved last month. The start of Season 2 was delayed by a month to Feb. 1, and each sports season was shortened from eight weeks to seven.
Here’s a recap of where all sports stand, at best, heading into the new year.
The typical winter sports of basketball, wrestling, bowling and boys swim and dive are now set to start on Feb. 1, 2021.
Basketball and wrestling have been deemed high-risk sports. For high-risk sports to start up, the county would have to see its 14-day COVID case rate drop down to less than 25 per 100,000 population and a testing positivity rate of less than 5%.
Right now, the Whatcom and statewide case rates are multiple times higher than 25.
Moderate-risk bowling and low-risk swim and dive have the greatest chance of happening this school year, as the requirements for competition are not as strict. Competition can begin with a positivity rate greater than 5 percent and a case rate greater than 75.
A regional culminating event, in place of any traditional state tournament, would happen in the middle of March.
Fall sports were moved to the spring Season 3 and are currently scheduled to begin March 15 at the conclusion of Season 2.
Like basketball and wrestling, football is categorized a high-risk sport, so it would have to meet the same stringent requirements of a COVID case rate under 25 for competition to begin.
The other fall sports of cross country, girls soccer, girls swim and dive, and volleyball are considered of low or moderate risk. That means the most lenient guidelines can apply for games to occur.
Regional culminating events for the season would happen the week of April 26.
The final season of the school year consists of the usual spring sports of baseball, softball, golf, boys soccer, tennis and track and field.
All spring sports are considered to be of low or moderate risk, so competition can begin even if transmission rates in the county remain relatively high.
The culmination of spring sports would be the week of June 7.
As with all of the changes and announcements the WIAA has made regarding high school sports during the pandemic, the current schedule may change as the political and health guidelines in the state change, but this is where things stand as of now.