TAYLOR COUNTY—The Virginia High School League (VHSL) announced last Wednesday that the state has decided to cancel football season for this fall, as schools continue to focus on reopening safely during the current pandemic.
The announcement has a tremendous effect on high school football here in the Mountain State, as 13 West Virginia schools were scheduled to play almost 30 games against Virginia teams.
With the cancellation of high school football in Virginia, Class AAA teams in West Virginia who will be affected include Hampshire, Jefferson, Martinsburg, Musselman, Princeton, and Washington. The only Class AA team affected is Bluefield, who had four games scheduled against Virginia competition. In Class A, teams affected include East Hardy, James Monroe, Montcalm, Pendelton County, River View, and Tug Valley.
In addition, several schools (including Grafton) are also scheduled to play teams from Maryland, who still has not made an announcement regarding their fall sports seasons.
The VHSL, which governs interscholastic play for more than 250 high schools in Virginia, proposed three different scenarios for falls sports to resume. While the league won’t vote on a final plan until July 27th, none of the three scenarios included football being played in the fall.
But out of the three options, one model did allow for a condensed version that would let schools resume shorter seasons beginning on December 14th. Theoretically, high school football could return in Virginia with anywhere from six-to-eight games and a playoff season next year. Under that model, football would see a start date more than likely in February.
Dr. Billy Haun, executive director of the VHSL, said the status of all sports depends on Virginia transitioning out of the Phase III guidelines currently in place. If Virginia stays in Phase III, no sports will return.
“It’s important to remember that in all these models, playing sports in the high-risk category depends on being out of the current Phase III guidelines,” Haun stated. “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.”