Monday starts Phase 1 of the "Healthy Washington: Roadmap to Recovery" plan. Sports can't compete until Phase 2, so the clock is ticking for high school sports.
The WIAA altered the sports calendar, moving traditional fall sports into the new "Season 1" starting February 1. While the WIAA governs high school sports in Washington, individual conferences can deviate from their plans with guidance as long as the plan sits within the four corners of the restrictions set by the governor and the Department of Health.
"The WIAA gave us the ability a couple months ago," said Casey Gant, Athletic Director of Kamiakin High School in Kennewick, "to make any adjustments that we felt were necessary with regards to our conference."
The Columbia Basin Big 9 met last week to discuss the latest WIAA proposed calendar. The conference has elected to pursue regional competition to maximize opportunities for their student athletes.
"We're conducting ourselves as a whole league," said Dave Martinez, Athletic Director of Sunnyside High School, "but knowing we are scheduling our seasons as a North and South."
Eastmont, Moses Lake, and Wenatchee are in the North Central Region while Eisenhower, Davis, Sunnyside, and West Valley are in the Southwest Region. The Roadmap splits the Big 9 between the regions which means that some teams might have different stipulations dependent on their region as laid out the by Roadmap.
Regions will be evaluated weekly -- With metrics taken on Friday and "phasing up" if applicable happening on Mondays. Regions can also phase down.
The Mid-Columbia Conference, which is comprised of 3A and 4 A schools within the Tri-Cities, Walla Walla, and Hermiston, and the Big 9 are already planning for the possibility of regions not reaching Phase 2 by February 1. Their first plans are to delay the season, which may or may not be mirrored by the WIAA.
However, if regions don't phase up with a reasonable amount a time to hold a season, leagues can choose to follow the WIAA (direction TBD) or take their own path. This means that some leagues within the same region might cancel a season while another one opts to stack sports in the same season.
As athletic directors continue making game time decisions, coaches and athletes are waiting for the green light to start competition, some for the last time.
"Your heart breaks if they don't get a season," said Dan Eyman, Head Football Coach for the West Valley Rams. "They put so much into this from Grid Kids, all the way through junior high sports and into high school. Now it's their senior year and the moment they've waiting for go away... It's tough."
Monday, January 18th will be the first date that regions can change phases. The WIAA plans on meeting Tuesday, January 19th to provide guidance in regards to high school sports.