MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Nearly one full year after several dozen high school basketball teams saw their seasons end due to the pandemic, a date for the launch of the 2021 winter sports season is set.
Governor Jim Justice announced at Monday’s press briefing that winter sports competitions can begin March 3. Basketball, swimming and wrestling teams may resume preseason practices on February 14. As is usual procedure, teams must get 14 practice days in prior to the start of official competition. There is a 16-day window to get the required practices in.
For teams to practice and play, they must not be in a ‘red’ county on the state’s weekly COVID metrics map. Justice promised changes to the map metrics could be announced at Wednesday’s press briefing.
“Our medical experts are going to advise me on expanding the ‘orange’ zone. We’ll give you information on that on Wednesday. We may be expanding the ‘orange’ zone, which will allow us a little bit of additional freedoms and everything in regard to our ability to go to school in orange and not be as restrictive as we have been,” said Governor Justice.
“To be perfectly honest, at 25 (infection rate) to go red is a very low number compared to other states throughout our nation.”
Last week, the WVSSAC met virtually with coaches and athletic directors to reset the winter and spring sports calendars. Those calendars are awaiting official approval from Governor Justice and State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Clayton Burch. Official dates for postseason schedules are expected to be released soon.