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VHSL: No sports before December

The Virginia High School League will not allow schools to resume sports until Dec. 7 after its Executive Committee voted unanimously to adopt a “Championships + 1” schedule for the current school year.

Winter sports — basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and diving and wrestling — will be able to start practicing Dec. 7, and have first games or contests on Dec. 21, with the season ending Feb. 20.

Typical fall sports such as cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf and volleyball can start practicing Feb. 4 and begin competing March 1, with those seasons ending no later than May 1.

The football season will consist of six games to be played over seven dates.

Spring sports will begin April 12, with the first competitions two weeks later and the season ending June 26. Those sports include baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and track and field.

Academic activities will be allowed from December through June. They include theater, scholastic bowl, forensics, debate, robotics, film festival, creative writing, publications evaluation and multimedia contest.

“We have received valuable 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 Billy Haun in a news release. “The Championships + 1 schedule will provide sports in all three seasons.”

Haun acknowledged the shortcomings of the plan, but said it would allow teams and athletes to compete.

“The VHSL Executive Committee acknowledges that no plan is perfect,” Haun said. “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.”