RENTON — The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) rounded out its 2021 sports schedule at a Jan. 21 meeting.
Two weeks after scheduling traditional fall sports to start practice Feb. 1, the association scheduled “Season Two” for traditional spring sports and “Season Three” for winter sports. The latest calendar is part of the association’s ongoing effort to salvage inter-school sports competition in Washington, which so far has not happened due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In the current calendar, Season One, consisting of the fall sports including football and volleyball, runs Feb. 1 through March 20. Season Two, featuring spring sports including baseball and softball, goes from March 15 through May 1. Season Three, with winter sports including basketball and wrestling, runs April 26 through June 12.
Winter sports are placed last because the state’s rules announced earlier this month don’t permit basketball and wrestling to open as long as the pandemic is still going on.
The six days of overlap between fall and spring sports, and between spring and winter, allow the WIAA to avoid further compressing already shortened seasons. But the overlap may be more acceptable at big schools, where athletes often specialize in a single sport, than at small schools, where that isn’t the case. Partly for this reason, the WIAA has granted leagues and districts the flexibility to reschedule seasons.
However, state health policies take precedence over the WIAA calendar. Until a region is Phase Two of the state’s “Roadmap to Recovery,” only a few low-risk sports including cross-country, track and field, and golf are permitted. This week, for the third week in a row since the Roadmap’s implementation, no regions made it out of Phase One. WIAA Director Mick Hoffman has said that if reopening is not possible by Feb. 22, the organization will consider selectively cancelling some sports seasons altogether rather than further compressing all the seasons.