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Sports in western states: Washington is latest to move football to spring

Sports in western states: Washington is latest to move football to spring

  • Updated
Canyon del Oro

Tucson Canyon del Oro High School's Dusty Peace is one of 35 Arizona coaches encouraging moving the high school football season to the spring.

BOZEMAN — On the heels of California moving its fall sports schedules to the December at the earliest, Washington has moved football, boys soccer and volleyball to the spring — while swapping some spring sports to the fall.

The Washington Interscholastic Activities Association voted on the scheduling changes Tuesday night in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tennis and golf were moved from the spring to fall, where they join cross country and slowpitch softball, which will continue as scheduled.

“Since March, the philosophy of our Association has been to allow students every chance to participate,” WIAA Executive Director Mick Hoffman said in a statement. “We’ve asked our Executive Board and planning committees to be as creative as possible in allowing for those opportunities. These are tough and unprecedented decisions to make, but it has been inspiring to see so many people around the state come together to work on behalf of students.”

The California Interscholastic Federation announced Monday that high school sports -- with their 800,000 participants -- will be delayed until December, at the earliest. Oregon on Wednesday prohibited football and pushed back the start of other fall sports to Sept. 23; some schools have already scrubbed practices.

Montana has yet to determine the fate of its fall sports.

“We’re on schedule right now to start practices and a full season,” MHSA Director Mark Beckman told 406mtsports in late June. “But everyone knows with the uncertainty, we’ll have to be flexible.”

All Montana high school fall sports are still set to begin practicing Aug. 13 and 14 with competition set to begin Aug. 15 for golf and Aug. 27 for the other four fall sports. 

Wyoming also plans to have fall football, but the Wyoming High School Activities Association has a contingency plan calling for a five-week season to start Oct. 16. Wyoming athletes have returned to the weight room and practice fields.

“With football we’re pretty much set with that schedule,” WHSAA commissioner Ron Laird told the Casper Star-Tribune on July 11. “We kind of have a game plan in place. But if we get started and then we have to take a break, we’ll have to come back together and figure things out.”

Elsewhere in the West, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah at this point still plan to proceed with fall sports. New Mexico delayed its football and soccer seasons until February, and Arizona is planning to start football in September but a coalition of 35 coaches has started a petition to delay to the spring.

“By keeping it in fall, it puts pressure on the districts to make a decision now when we know the district doesn’t want to make a decision about school right now at all,” Dustin Peace, coach at Canyon del Oro High School in Tucson, told the Arizona Daily Star. “They want to back things up as much as they can. … It would ease a lot of peoples’ minds to move back to the spring, because I haven’t seen my kids in close to five months."


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