The District of Columbia State Athletic Association (DCSAA) announced Monday they are postponing the start of winter sports and subsequently pushing back the amended 2020-21 calendar due to the ongoing public health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision comes one week before winter sports practice was rescheduled to begin in the district. Per Mayor Muriel Bowser, high school extracurricular sports activities and competitions are suspended for DC public schools, public charter schools, private schools and parochial schools. All student-athlete re-engagement in the district has been paused.
As challenging as the news may be for a community longing for a return to play, DCSAA Executive Director Clark Ray stresses the importance of following the science and placing safety at the forefront of all decisions.
“When we made the decision to push back the start of the season, we were aware of the possibility that the new schedule might not be met,” Ray said. “Our goal was that if the data and science supported returning to play in December, that’s what we would do. Unfortunately, at this time, the risks associated with playing simply are too high.
“We appreciate the leadership and clear direction of Mayor Bowser and know that she has the health and safety of our student-athletes and all District residents first and foremost. We need everyone to continue doing their part – wear your mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands – so that we can have a season.”
The DCSAA now intends to play three seven-week seasons, starting Monday, Feb 1st. Though abbreviated, such a plan would still provide student-athletes with exposure opportunities, while lending some sense of normalcy to a year that has been anything but.
“While it is disappointing to delay the start of the athletic season, our focus remains on getting student-athletes on the field and court and back to competition,” Ray said. “We know the positive impact that athletics have on our youths and look forward to getting back in action. Of course, we will continue to monitor the situation and maintain the flexibility to return to play as soon as we can.”
The amended 20-21 DCSAA athletic calendar is as follows:
• Winter sports: Practice begins Feb.1; competition Feb. 8 to March 27
• Fall sports: Football practice begins March 1; other sports begin practice March 8; competition March 15 to May 1st
• Spring sports: Practice begins April 26; competition May 3 to June 1