State COVID metrics map remains in play for fall sports postseasons, football plans set

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — The WVSSAC released a plan for fall sports postseason play to their member schools Thursday afternoon and how it relates to the state’s COVID metrics map.

Teams from counties that are orange or red on the weekly Saturday 5 p.m. map release will not be able to compete in postseason play for football, soccer or volleyball. Only schools in green, yellow or gold categories can compete. Those three sports are identified as high to moderate risk by the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations).

Cross country and sideline cheer teams from orange counties may compete in postseason meets if athletes receive a negative COVID test within seven days of the competition. Those sports are identified as low risk by the NFHS.

Soccer and cross country postseasons begin next week. Sectional soccer tournaments begin October 19 and cross country regional meets are set for October 22.

Volleyball and football postseasons are scheduled to begin during the first week of November.

“Ultimately, we would love to see everybody participate without any restrictions,” said WVSSAC Executive Director Bernie Dolan. “But because of the time we live in, we know the color code map is there for a reason. It has given an indication of what is going on in your community.”

No restriction will be placed on any school on hosting an event, as long as they are in the green, yellow or gold category. Schools that shift to a red designation on the daily map release during the week are not allowed to compete in any sport.

Dolan says the risk level of the sport was instrumental in determining which color designations allow for play in a particular sport.

“It was risk of the sport and of the county and not necessarily the number (of tests). They have proven they can test a lot of people in a lot of areas. If you look at the map where they are doing free testing, they cover most of the map right now.”

Dolan added that he expects these policies to be in place for the duration of the fall sports postseasons and it is not likely that they will be revisited later in the fall.

Spectator attendance for all events will be capped at twenty percent capacity. Existing attendance policies regarding family members will remain in place.

“If a field can seat 5,000 people and it says you can handle a thousand, if families, grandparents and all that make up 450, this allows you to open up a few more seats (to the general public).”

The WVSSAC consulted with the WVDE, the WVDHHR and state health officials in implementing the guidelines.

The state golf postseason concluded last week. Athletes from orange counties were allowed to compete as long as they tested negative for COVID.

Football postseason guidelines in place

The WVSSAC has also released plans for the upcoming high school football playoffs. Teams must play in a minimum of four games to be playoff-eligible. The postseason will begin as scheduled on the weekend of November 13-14 with the top sixteen teams in each class qualifying.

In a new development, teams that have not been able to compete in their full allotment of ten regular season games are allowed to schedule additional games up until November 28.

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