How Will Fall and Winter Sports Changes Affect High School Lacrosse?

PHOTO BY RICH BARNES

Most high school lacrosse seasons never got off the ground in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, the 2021 seasons will have altered timelines in many locations around the country.


High school football games were played in some parts of the country this past weekend, while other regions are still working on plans to get fall sports off the ground.

Such is life in 2020.

High school lacrosse is still months away from starting, but how states handle fall sports could have significant impacts on lacrosse — ranging from what time of the year the sport is played, how long the season lasts and what overlaps there are with other sports’ playing seasons.

For instance, in North Carolina, the lacrosse season has been moved up to be a winter sport with the season running from January 11 through March 12. That timeline will directly overlap with a number of other sports’ adjusted schedules, including boys’ and girls’ basketball, football and boys’ soccer.

The North Carolina Lacrosse Coaches Association has reached out to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association asking them to push the season start back to April 12 to avoid those conflicts.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in the 23 states where high school lacrosse is a sponsored sport by the state’s official multi-sport sanctioning body. (Note: States where high school lacrosse is played, but not fully sanctioned by the state, are also subject to impact from fall/winter sports schedule changes. The lacrosse entities in those areas will have greater flexibility to adjust as circumstances dictate.)

California: The California Interscholastic Federation will leave it up to each individual section to determine the playing dates for lacrosse, but with fall sports being pushed to the spring in the state, most sections are expected to delay the start of lacrosse season until late April.

Colorado: The Colorado High School Activities Association placed lacrosse into “Season D” of its modified 2020-21 schedule and the dates for the sport will be April 26 through June 12.

Connecticut: The Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference has not announced any updates to the spring sports season, but a shortened fall sports season is expected. Fall sports teams resumed conditioning Monday and can begin non-contact skills activities in small groups beginning Aug. 29. Any fall sports not able to be played this fall will not be played later in the year.

Delaware: The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association will announce dates following a September board meeting. The current plan is to start spring sports in mid-April.

Florida: The start of fall sports was delayed in the state, with practices beginning Monday, but no adjustment has been announced for spring sports. The original timeline for the school year has spring sports practices beginning on Jan. 25 with regular season games allowed as early as Feb. 15.

Georgia: Fall sports were delayed two weeks by the Georgia High School Activities Association but are scheduled to begin with games in early September in most jurisdictions. Lacrosse practices are set to begin on Jan. 18 with the first games allowed on Feb. 8.

Illinois: The Illinois High School Association has moved lacrosse from a spring to summer sport, with the season dates running from May 3 to June 26.

Maine: The start of fall sports has been delayed by the Maine Principals Association with the possibility of the sports being moved to the spring. No announcement has been made on spring sports, which are slated to begin practices on March 29 with games on April 15.

Maryland: The Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association has postponed the start of the fall and winter sports seasons until after the first semester of classes. No information has been made public on spring sports, but plans for modified competition seasons for all sports during the second semester are expected to be announced soon.







Massachusetts: The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association has pushed back the spring sports season, which is now scheduled to run April 26 through July 3.

Michigan: The Michigan High School Athletic Association has delayed the schedules for several fall sports, including some regional variations due to varying conditions, but the spring schedule is currently set to allow practices beginning March 15. Football will be moved to the spring, which could cause significant overlap with boys’ lacrosse.

Minnesota: The Minnesota State High School League moved football and volleyball from the fall to a condensed spring season, pushing back the start of traditional spring sports, including lacrosse, until May.

New Hampshire: The New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association has delayed the start of fall practices until Sept. 8. No announcement has been made on spring sports.

New Jersey: The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association released a detailed calendar of dates for fall and winter sports with fall outdoor sports beginning practices on Sept. 14. The dates for spring sports will be announced at a later time.

New York: New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday that lower-risk fall sports (cross country, field hockey, soccer swimming and tennis) can begin competition on Sept. 21, but all other fall sports are only permitted to practice at this point. The New York State Public High School Athletic Association is expected to announce its plans this week following the governor’s recent guidance.

North Carolina: Traditional fall sports have been moved to the winter and spring by the North Carolina High School Athletic Association, resulting in a major switch for lacrosse. Boys’ and girls’ lacrosse will now have their seasons run early from January 11 through March 12.

Ohio: The start of the fall sports season was delayed, but the Ohio High School Athletic Association got approval from Governor Mike DeWine last week allowing for “contact” sports in the fall (field hockey, football and soccer) to begin their seasons. No update for the spring has been announced.

Pennsylvania: The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association voted last week to allow fall sports to begin practicing on Monday. Games for most fall sports would start on Sept. 11, and presumably spring sports would start on time if things move as planned.

Rhode Island: The Rhode Island Interscholastic League delayed the start of fall sports about a month until Sept. 14. The start date for spring sports will be contingent upon whether or not some of the fall sports end up shifting their schedules to the spring.

South Carolina: Fall sports were delayed by the South Carolina High School League and seasons will be condensed. No updates have been released for spring sports, which include lacrosse practices scheduled to begin on Feb. 3.

Utah: The Utah High School Athletics Association began the fall season with no delays, so practices for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse are scheduled to start on time on March 1.

Vermont: The Vermont Principals Association announced that no 11-on-11 tackle football would be played this year. It will be replaced by a 7-on-7 touch football version. Also, volleyball matches must be played outdoors and all athletes from every sport must wear a mask while competing. Guidance on winter sports is expected on Oct. 15, so there’s still significant time to see how lacrosse might be impacted.

Virginia: The Virginia High School League delayed the start of all sports until mid-December, resulting in a condensed playing calendar. The lacrosse season will run from April 12 until June 26.

Please note that the information above is subject to frequent changes.

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