VHSL unanimously approves “Championships + 1” format

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WFXR) — The Virginia High School League’s Executive Committee unanimously voted to approve the “Championships + 1” format for the 2020-2021 school year, paving the way for high school sports in Virginia to return as early as December.

The plan will have schools play 60 percent of its normal regular season schedule and allow for regional and state tournaments. In team sports, such as basketball, volleyball and football, the four region champions would advance to the state tournament, eliminating the need for a quarterfinal round. The top seed in each bracket would host the state championship.

The “Plus One” portion of the plan guarantees that schools who don’t qualify for a postseason would get to play an extra game.

“We have received invaluable input from our school communities, parents, and students who say the physical and mental health benefits of getting our students back to a level of participation is extremely important,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun. “The Championships + 1 schedule will provide sports in all three seasons.”

Winter sports would return first, with basketball practices happening as early as Dec. 7 and contests beginning on Dec. 21. Football is scheduled to begin practice on Feb. 4, with competition commencing on Feb. 22. Spring sports would run from April to June.

“Championships + 1” Condensed Interscholastic Plan (full schedule attached)

  • Season 1 (Winter) Dec. 7 – Feb. 20 (First Contest Date – Dec. 21)
    • basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swimming and diving, wrestling
  • Season 2 (Fall) Feb. 4 – May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
    • competition cheerleading, cross country, field hockey, football, golf, volleyball
  • Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)
    • baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis, track, and field
  • Academic Activities (December – June)
    • Theatre, Scholastic Bowl, Forensics, Debate, Robotics, Film Festival, Creative Writing, Publications Evaluation, and Multimedia Contest.

“The VHSL Executive Committee acknowledges that no plan is perfect. We are in unprecedented times in which we have been forced to create a temporary new normal,” Haun said. “We understand this plan, or any plan, will not meet the expectations for those wanting a normal fall, winter, and spring sports season. This plan, however, will allow student-athletes and academic activity participants the opportunity of having a season and playing for a state championship.”

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