Posts Tagged ‘WIAA’

Green states are playing fall high school football in some form. Red states plan to play next spring. (Map created by The Columbian)

As the world deals with the COVID-19 pandemic, there is no consensus in America on how to handle prep sports.

One big example is high school football, where the ticket revenue which pays for most athletic budgets is generated.

Tuesday, The Columbian in Eastern Washington published the map seen above, which shows where every state sat on the issue of gridiron games through Monday, October 12.

Hours after this map hit, however, Alaska cancelled all fall sports, including football, while postponing the start of winter sports.

Like Ferris Bueller once said, “Life comes at you fast.”

So, likely before you finish reading this story, rest assured things may have changed as well…

That said, at the moment there are 32 states playing some version of fall football, while two states have plans to launch seasons soon.

But even in those states currently playing, there are variations, with shortened seasons, postponements, or some states operating on a week-to-week status.

Then there are 15 states, plus the District of Columbia, which intend to play football next spring. That includes Washington state.

There are also quirks, such as Vermont replacing tackle football with 7-on-7 touch, while Rhode Island has simply erased football in any form from the 2020-2021 school year.

Where each state stands, according to Tuesday’s report in The Columbian:


Season has started:

New Hampshire
North Dakota
South Carolina
South Dakota


Season started late or ending early:

New Jersey


Plan to play in spring 2021:

District of Columbia
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina



Arizona — Season started Oct. 1, but Phoenix area schools don’t start play until Oct. 23.

Colorado — 79% of schools opened shortened season Oct. 9. Remainder plan to play in the spring. Some games have been cancelled after positive COVID-19 tests.

Maryland — Reversed decision to move football to 2021, allowing districts to make own choice. Some opted to play in the fall, others are undecided, and some remain committed to spring.

Minnesota — Season started Oct. 9, but multiple games have been canceled because of COVID-19.

Missouri — Part of state playing, but areas including St. Louis, are not.

Pennsylvania — Some districts started play Sept. 11. Others Oct. 2. Approximately 15 percent of state schools opting to delay play until spring.

Rhode Island — No football in 2020-2021.

Vermont — Replaced tackle football with 7-on-7 touch. Teams playing twice a week between Sept. 25-Oct. 24.

West Virginia: Season started Sept. 4, but COVID restrictions have forced frequent cancellations.

Wisconsin — Two-third of state schools started play Sept. 25. Other third waiting for spring.

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With Island County in Phase 3 of the Governor’s COVID-19 reopening plan, Coupeville athletes have been able to return to practices. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Games are still on hold, but everyone gets more practice days.

The Executive Board of the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association announced Friday it has extended the “open coaching window” from November 30 to Dec. 19.

With most schools across the state using distance learning as the world deals with the ongoing pandemic, actual competition is not currently planned to begin until Jan.

The open coaching window is normally offered during the summer, and allows coaches to work with their athletes during the off-season.

With COVID-19 having thrown the normal prep sports schedule into disarray, the WIAA opted to allow practices, or open gyms, or whatever you want to call them, to go from Sept. 28-Nov. 30.

With Island County in a modified Phase 3 in Governor Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, Coupeville was able to start practices immediately.

However, a lot of other counties are still in Phase 2, or below that, and quite a few schools have not been able to begin practices, mainly because their risk assessment offices have recommended against it.

By extending the open coaching window almost three weeks, the WIAA hopes to offer those schools lagging behind a chance to catch up and get some practices in the book.

Schools are allowed to hold intra-team scrimmages during this period, but can not currently hold competitions with other schools under WIAA rules.

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Chelsea Prescott and her CHS basketball teammates may be the first prep athletes to return to play. Emphasis on “may.” (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If Coupeville wants to play basketball this winter, Island County’s rate of positive COVID-19 cases needs to drop.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, working off direction from the office of Governor Jay Inslee, issued updated guidelines Tuesday for schools returning to competition on the athletic field.

In the release of the info, it was stressed that “the Governor’s office has informed the WIAA that these guidelines must be followed and neither schools nor community sports programs have the authority to implement more lenient policies.”

“These revised guidelines give greater flexibility to school administrators to offer education-based athletics and activities and meet the demand of their students and communities,” said the WIAA in a statement.

“Staff will continue to work with decision-makers to evaluate participation in sports deemed high-risk by reviewing all data and documentation available in hopes it may be appropriate to qualify them as moderate risk.”

The new guidelines divide sports into three tiers based on how many positive cases per 100,000 residents a county has, and the percentage of positive tests.

The tiers:


High Risk:

75+ positive cases per 100K in a 14-day period OR more than 5% positivity


Moderate Risk:

25-75 cases per 100K AND less than 5% positivity


Low Risk:

Less than 25 cases per 100K AND less than 5% positivity


As of Tuesday evening, the Washington State Health Department’s risk-assessment dashboard lists Island County at 36.5 cases per 100K, with 2.8% positivity.

In other words, we land squarely under moderate risk.

But, basketball, which is currently set to be the first sport back in action, with practice kicking off the final week of December, and games in January, requires counties to be in the low risk category to play actual games.

As of now, a high risk sport can only start playing games if a county is in the low risk tier for positive cases.

By contrast, low risk sports can begin competition even if a county is in the high risk tier.

Moderate risk sports match up with the moderate risk tier.

Confused yet?

How each sport Coupeville plays is currently classified:


High Risk:

Cheer (with contact)


Moderate Risk:



Low Risk:

Cheer (sideline/no contact)
Cross Country
Track and field


Currently, the plan is for basketball to run from Dec. 28-Feb. 27, with volleyball, girls and boys soccer, football, cross country, and boys tennis going from Mar. 1-May 1.

Softball, girls tennis, baseball, and track would close out the school year from Apr. 26-June 26.

All sports will be allowed to play 70% of a normal season (so 14 games instead of 20 for basketball), and postseason play is still being determined.

The chance of other sports being moved ahead of basketball, if the numbers dictate such a move, would be a WIAA decision, and not a league or school one, said Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith.


To read the complete new WIAA guidelines for yourself, pop over to:


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A small collection of past and present Coupeville coaches.

Richard Nixon wasn’t perfect, but he had his moments.

One of the more unsung accomplishments of his presidency was the creation, in 1972, of a National Coaches Day, which falls each year on October 6.

In his original proclamation, he declared:

“Coaches are highly qualified teachers — in highly specialized fields.

But more than that, they are friends and counselors who help instill in their players important attitudes that will serve them all their lives.”

Today, on the 49th anniversary, take a quick moment to say thanks to the men and women who lead Coupeville’s sports teams.

Most of them do it for very little money, so you know they’re in for the right reasons.

Through know-it-all fans, through wins and losses, through dumb questions frequently asked by reporters like me, through injuries and teen drama, they teach growth, commitment, and an ability to work with others.

They are the backbone of our town’s athletic legacy, and, sometimes, much more.

So, job well done, one and all.

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CMS athletes like Lyla Stuurmans could be back in action in January. (Corinn Parker photo)

Middle school sports have not been forgotten about.

As Washington state (and the world) deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, prep sports have been massively disrupted, with the loss of spring and summer seasons, and a push-back to any games during the upcoming school year.

Athletic directors, league officials, and the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association worked on creating opportunities for high school students first, but now they’ve turned their efforts to middle school as well.

As expected, middle school athletic programs will follow the lead of their high school counterparts, with no games until Jan., 2021, at the earliest.

Middle school athletes will not be totally sidelined until then, however.

The current plan offered by the WIAA will allow for an “open coaching season” from Sept. 28-Nov. 29, with this being available to middle and high school athletes.

Practices will be held after school (2:30-on), even if students are still in online learning and not in-person education, and will be posted on the Coupeville School District’s Tandem calendar.

High school sports are currently set to begin actual competition with basketball up first. Practice would begin the last week of December, with the opening games the first week of January.

With middle school sports, it’s still very much a work in progress, said CHS/CMS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

The hope is for CMS teams to also begin play in January, but no schedules have been drafted yet.

That’s largely because only two schools in the Cascade Middle School League — Coupeville and South Whidbey — are in counties which have reached Phase 3 in the state’s reopening plan.

Granite Falls, Sultan, King’s, Northshore Christian, and Lakewood all are in counties currently in Phase 2.

“This is why we aren’t publishing any schedules, because we don’t know where the majority of our league will be in January,” Smith said. “We are hopeful that all will be in at least Phase 3.”

Of the sports CMS plays, boys soccer, volleyball, track and field, and cross country are considered Phase 3 sports, while girls and boys basketball require Phase 4.

If some sports can be played, but it requires moving seasons around to do so, that opens up other questions for the league athletic directors.

“When planning the seasons, it’s important to note that we have to look at gender equity, facilities, transportation, and officials availability,” Smith said.

If and when middle school teams are allowed to play, the Cascade League plans to have each season be comprised of two weeks of practice, and three weeks of games.

The WIAA and the sports medicine group it works with plans to waive the practice requirements, but league AD’s don’t agree.

“We didn’t feel it would be in the athletes best interest, either on a safety or a mental/physical preparedness level to follow those guidelines,” Smith said.

Though current WIAA plans call for high school teams to compete through the end of June, the Cascade League wants to wrap middle school sports by the end of May.

“This aligns with the ability of our middle school students and families to be able to focus on the last month of school, rather than extend the sports year all the way to the end of June as high school is being proposed to do,” Smith said.

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