Soccer re-classified as a high risk contact sport by NCAA: Impact on Virginia high schools?

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The NCAA has updated its Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Developing Standards for Practice and Competition manual and has re-classified soccer as a high contact risk sport.

This now places soccer in the same classification with basketball, field hockey, football, lacrosse, volleyball, and wrestling.

This third publication on resocialization of collegiate sport updates the prior two documents and provides new guidance specific to the prevention of community spread of COVID-19 in the athletics setting.

The move could impact the 2020-2021 sports year for the Virginia High School League, which is set to meet next week to decide among three models for competing in the coming academic year.

The three models presented to the Executive Committee for the opening of sports/activities are as follows:

Model 1: Leave all sports in current season. Low and moderate contact risks sports that would be allowed to play are golf and cross country. High-risk sports that would not be played are field hockey, football, volleyball, and cheer. Fall activities that would be allowed is theatre.

Model 2: Switch fall and spring seasons. Low and moderate contact risk sports that would be allowed to play in the fall are track and field, tennis, soccer, baseball, and softball. High-risk sports that would not be played are boys/girls lacrosse. Spring activities that would be allowed are theatre, forensics/debate, and film festival

Model 3: Delay all VHSL sports and adopt the Condensed Interscholastic Plan. Leave all sports in the season where they are currently aligned.

  • Season 1 (Winter) Dec. 14 – Febr. 20 (First Contest Date – December 28)
  • Season 2 (Fall) Feb. 15 – May 1 (First Contest Date – March 1)
  • Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26 (First Contest Date – April 26)

“This update changes the concept of Model 2 drastically. One of the pros for Model 2 was the fact that it offered the opportunity to get more student-athletes back on the field this fall. Now, both soccer and lacrosse would not be played due to being classified as high contact risk sports which would eliminate approximately 28,000 student-athletes. This Model would leave spring athletes very vulnerable and lacrosse and soccer with the loss of two seasons,” said VHSL Executive Director Dr. John W. “Billy” Haun.

“Our only objective is to provide as many opportunities to get our student-athletes on the field and courts. We will continue to review the classifications for these sports with our Sports Medicine Advisory Committee (SMAC) of leading health experts and with our Executive Committee to provide a healthy and safe environment for those participating in athletics.”

Link to Resocialization of Collegiate Sport: Updated Risk Considerations: click here.


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