CHARLOTTESVILLE — By a vote of the Virginia High School League’s (VHSL) Executive Committee, high school sports in Virginia will return in late December, but not in their traditional order of play.
Model 3, a condensed interscholastic plan, was approved by a vote of 34-1-0.
Under Model 3, the winter sports season begins December 14 and runs through February 20, 2021 with boys and girls basketball, gymnastics, boys and girls indoor track and field, boys and girls swimming and diving and wrestling.
The first contest date is December 28.
Franklin County High School does not compete in diving and gymnastics.
“I’m just glad that we have the opportunity to let the kids play, Franklin County head boys varsity basketball coach Tom Hering said. “I’m glad they voted on (Model 3). It gives all sports a chance to play, but there are no guarantees, I’m sure.
“I don’t know how many people will be able to come and watch us play when the time comes. That will be depending on what phase (the state) is in, I guess,’’ Hering said.
The fall sports campaign begins February 15, 2021 and runs through May 1 with competitive cheer, boys and girls cross country, field hockey, football, golf and volleyball.
The first contest date is March 1.
Franklin County does not compete in field hockey.
The spring sports campaign begins April 12 and runs through June 26 with baseball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls soccer, softball, boys and girls tennis and boys and girls outdoor track and field.
The first contest date is April 26.
Model 3 was favored by Franklin County principal Jon Cruthfield and athletic director Crystal Worley, both of whom confirmed their support of the model in earlier published reports.
Crutchfield is the chairman-elect of the Executive Committee.
This marks the first year that football will not be played in the fall at Franklin County.
The sport at the high-school level was introduced to the county in 1950 with the opening of the consolidated Franklin County High School.
There have been 15 coaches. Following the 2019 season, the program’s 70th, the overall record is 288-391-19, a .426 winning percentage.
Volleyball dates to 1975 and has been played for 45 continuous falls. The program has had 11 head coaches.
Practices in football and golf were scheduled to begin Thursday with practices in cheer, cross country and volleyball following on Monday.
“We all understand the physical and mental health benefits of getting our students back to a level of participation,’’ VHSL Executive Director John W. (Billy) Haun said in a prepared statement.
Following the Executive Committee meeting, Haun conducted an hour-long press conference with state sports media via Zoom. During the session, he took and responded to a variety of questions regarding the return of high school sports.
High School sports in Virginia were canceled in March with the state boys and girls basketball championships in progress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the time, several Franklin County spring teams had played preseason games.
“The Condensed Interscholastic Plan leaves open the opportunity to play all sports in all three seasons if Virginia moves beyond Phase III and/or Phase III guidelines are revised and High Risk Activities (football, volleyball, competitive cheer, boys and girls basketball, wrestling, boys and girls soccer and boys and girls lacrosse) are allowed,’’ Haun said in the statement.
“This plan also allows schools the opportunity to open the year, get school started and deal with issues such as schedules, academic plans, transportation and deal with possible outbreaks of COVID in the school,’’ Haun said.
“The VHSL will continue to work closely with the best available information and directives provided by the Governor, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) and the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE),’’ Haun said.
On Monday, Virginia posted its second-highest single-day jump in COVID-19 cases. The highest was in May with 1,615 cases.
Cases rose by 3,708 this past weekend with cases in the Richmond area increasing to 10,474.
Governor Ralph Northam has said that shutdowns “might be coming back if numbers don’t improve.’’
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