Brendan J. Ross
COVID-19 has been spreading widely throughout the United States, as there are over 5 million confirmed cases and over 170,000 deaths. In Virginia, there have been over 100,000 confirmed cases and roughly 2,400 deaths. There is a lot about the Coronavirus that is unknown, and with infection rates increasing, the VHSL has decided to postpone all high school sports. Many recognize this as a reasonable and safe decision, however it causes some conflict.
The VHSL proposes that the Winter season will take place from December 14-February 20, the Fall season from February 15-May 1, and the Spring season from April 12-June 26. Billy Haun, VHSL executive director, states, “All our efforts will continue towards advocating for the opening of sports and activities in a safe and reasonable way that will protect athletes, activity participants, coaches, officials, and the public.” Their plan causes problems for multisport athletes, as the fall and winter seasons overlap.
Sofia Miller, a volleyball and basketball player, states, “I think with the sports overlapping it will cause some problems, but with what I’ve heard from my volleyball coach, they’ll find ways to make things happen.” With the two seasons combined, coaches will have to find ways so their players can do both of the sports they are committed to. Sofia continues to say, “I’m not sure if every coach will be that way, and if post-regular-season games come, it would cause even more of a conflict.” With some teams advancing to further competitions in the district/league post regular season, it could cause them to make a difficult decision regarding which sport they should participate in. She closes her statement by saying, “I’m fine with them being pushed back because of what’s going on right now with COVID. I think that any date earlier would have caused even more problems with COVID.” Playing sports in the safest way possible is VHSL’s top priority and starting them on regular time adds risk to the participating students.
Claudia Kim, a cheerleader, says, “In my opinion, I feel like it was a better idea to delay it, and although that might mean I may not get a season, I’d rather be safe than sorry.” Especially since she is a member of the highly popular football season, it can be upsetting to not have the traditional FNL experience, but she recognizes that her safety is more important than a traditional fall football season. She closes with, “I’m happy they tried to delay it and that they chose to put the students’ safety as number 1, but they should add more safety requirements like delaying all sports until spring, and I know it’s going to be super crowded if they meshed it all into spring, but we might have a vaccine/cure by then.” There is a lot that is unknown about what will happen with the pandemic, so it would be reasonable to expect adjustments in their decision as the school year continues.
Ultimately, postponing high school athletics was the safest decision at this stage of the pandemic, and although the plan causes some complications, it is subject to change depending on what happens as the year goes on.