The Virginia High School League announced on Tuesday evening that it will wait until May before deciding on whether to hold spring sports events after the conclusion of the academic year.
The VHSL Crisis Management team reached the decision to delay final action on spring sports after discussing the matter in a conference call on Tuesday. On Monday, Gov. Ralph Northam said that all schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year because of coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. The VHSL announced less than two hours later that all athletic activities would be canceled for the rest of the academic year.
If the VHSL does pursue spring sports, no state champions will be recognized.
“While we recognize the importance sports has on our students and communities, the COVID-19 threat is real and people need to follow all the regulations and recommendations from the CDC, Virginia Department of Health, and the Governor. We must make that our number one priority,” said VHSL executive director Billy Haun in a news release. “The Crisis Management team overwhelmingly felt a decision on an extension to the spring sports season should be put on hold until May. Any options for the spring sports season will require that COVID-19 is no longer a threat and poses no health risks to our student-athletes or the public.
“This is extremely serious and a lot has to happen before May for us to extend the season. In every situation, every decision we make has been, and will be made in the best interest of our student-athletes and public safety.”
Even if the COVID-19 situation improves, the VHSL stated that there are a number of other obstacles that would have to be resolved to make spring sports a reality.
• The VHSL would have to change its calendar to allow sports participation in July, since spring sports are currently supposed to end in June.
• The VHSL would have to waive the one-week dead period that annually includes the first week of July (June 28-July 4 this year).
• For those participating in July, student-athletes will be required to have a new physical beginning July 1. Parents will have to certify on the form that the student-athlete has insurance.
• Students entering college and taking summer classes that are not part of any dual enrollment situation are no longer in high school and will be in violation of both the Enrollment and BonaFide Student rules.
• Any amateur athlete signing a professional contract will not be eligible. The Major League Baseball First-Year Playoff Draft takes place June 10-12.