File, The Gazette

As we wait to hear what high school sports will look like in Colorado this fall, here is what other state associations are planning through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forty-two state associations, including Colorado, have provided updates for the fate of fall sports. The Colorado High School Activities Association announced at least three fall sports will be played after approval from state health officials. Boys’ golf, boys’ tennis and softball will begin practice and competition in August, and CHSAA officials have said they anticipate an answer from health officials on remaining fall sports soon.

Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Utah, Wisconsin and New Hampshire say in their releases that local districts will have the power to make decisions regarding athletics based on local health data. Six states, including Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, Maine, Delaware and Connecticut have not released complete plans for fall sports as of Wednesday.

At least 11 states have made drastic changes regarding the start of athletics, including postponing activities until 2021, or modifying seasons.


California leads the nation in confirmed coronavirus cases (488,000). As a result the California Interscholastic Federation announced that the state’s 10 sections will operate under a ‘modified’ season schedule, anticipating that most sports will begin in December of 2020 or early 2021. The CIF has divided high school athletics into two seasons instead of three, and will allow individual sections to produce its own calendar “CIF Section Office will release their own calendar to reflect regular season starting and ending dates and Section playoffs.”

Volleyball, water polo, cross country, competitive cheer, football, field hockey, gymnastics and skiing & snowboarding will compete in a modified ‘fall’ schedule beginning either in December or January, depending on the section, and will play through mid-April. The ‘spring’ season, featuring badminton, soccer, swimming & diving, tennis, wrestling, basketball, golf, baseball, softball, track & field and lacrosse will follow and compete until the end of June.


On July 16 the District of Columbia State Athletic Association announced it will postpone interscholastic athletics until January 2021, and will modify its seasons to fit all sports into three condensed sections, starting with winter sports in early 2021. Each season will have a three-week preseason before a six-week regular season, followed by league and state playoffs. Practices for basketball, indoor track & field and cheerleading may begin on Dec. 14, followed by first contests on Jan. 4 through Feb. 28. The new ‘fall’ season, featuring cross country, football, soccer and volleyball may begin practices on Feb. 1, and the seasons will conclude on April 16. Spring, featuring baseball, softball, tennis, track & field, ultimate disc and chess will begin March 29, and will compete through June 13.


On July 20 the Florida High School Athletic Association voted 10-5 in favor to allow schools to begin practices on July 27 if they choose, despite spiking confirmed positive COVID-19 cases through July. About a week later the board held an emergency meeting, reversing the decision with an 11-4 vote to delay the start of fall sports until Aug. 24 in response to some districts arguing to withdraw from the FHSAA in protest of the association's original decision to not postpone fall sports.


The Illinois High School Association announced an altered season format on July 29, moving football, boys’ soccer and girls’ volleyball to the spring, and splitting the remaining sports into four seasons, fall, winter, spring and summer. Golf, tennis, cross country, swim & dive will be permitted to compete beginning Aug. 24. The sports traditionally played in the winter will remain unchanged. The spring season will be comprised of football, volleyball, boys’ soccer, boys’ gymnastics, girls’ badminton and water polo. Spring sports, including baseball, softball, track & field, girls’ soccer, boys’ volleyball, lacrosse and boys’ tennis will play in the ‘summer’ season, beginning May 3 through June 26.


On July 23 the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association executive director announced all athletic practices will be postponed until January 2021, condensing each season into six competitive weeks, which will include playoffs at the discretion of the classification. Winter sports will be permitted to practice starting Jan. 2, and will compete through Feb. 20. Fall sports will begin Feb. 20 with the exception of football, which can begin practice on Feb. 13. The ‘fall’ season will conclude on April 10. Spring will begin practice on April 3 and may compete through May 22.


While the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has not postponed until 2021 and has not altered seasons, the NJSIAA has rescheduled the start of the fall season by over a month, allowing contests to begin on Oct. 1. The association has also condensed the football season to six regular season games, and has restricted postseason play for some other fall sports. New Jersey is ranked No. 5 in the nation regarding confirmed positive COVID-19 cases with more than 180,000, and is No. 2 in deaths with 15,798, though new cases have been declining since its peak in late April.

Iowa also condensed its football regular season to six weeks, but every team in the state will play in a six-round playoff bracket.


The New Mexico Activities Association worked out a schedule to allow all 13 sanctioned sports to have seasons with some season modifications and delays. Cross country, golf and volleyball are the only sports permitted to play this fall, with a delayed start date of Oct. 5. Basketball and swimming & diving may begin Jan. 4. Soccer and football will begin in February, followed by Wrestling in mid-April, and a spring season, featuring softball, baseball, golf, tennis and track & field, starting in early April.


The New York State Public High School Athletic Association COVID-19 task force announced a tentative start date of Sept. 21, and announced all state tournaments for fall 2020 have been canceled. However, officials did stress the return to high school sports is still a fluid situation and will rely on the approval of the state education department and Gov. Andrew Cuomo on the reopening of schools.

New York is currently ranked fourth in positive cases, but leads the nation with over 32,000 deaths, roughly 20% of all COVID-19 deaths nationally.


The Virginia High School League announced the state will delay activities until Dec. 14, and will start the athletic year with winter sports. Basketball, gymnastics, indoor track, swim & dive and wrestling will be permitted to compete starting Dec. 28. Fall sports such as cheer, cross country, field hockey, football, golf and volleyball may begin on Feb. 15, followed by a spring season of baseball, lacrosse, soccer, softball, tennis and track & field starting in April.


The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association revamped its 2020-21 calendar, creating four WIAA-sanctioned seasons with practice beginning on Sept. 7. Within the new format, moderate and high-risk team sports like volleyball, soccer and football, will be moved from the traditional fall season, to ‘Season 3’, which will begin in early spring 2021. Cross country, slowpitch softball, girls’ swim & dive, golf and tennis have been approved to begin play in the fall. Basketball, bowling, boys’ swim & dive, gymnastics, cheerleading and wrestling will compete in ‘Season 2’, followed by ‘Season 3’ comprised of moderate and higher-risk fall sports. Tennis, fastpitch softball, track & field, baseball, golf, boys’ soccer and dance/drill will compete in the final ‘Season 4’.

Editor's note: The coronavirus pandemic and its effect on high school sports continues to be a fluid situation, sometimes requiring last-minute changes. The information included in this article is accurate as of July 30, and will be updated accordingly.