High school football players in Virginia won't be hitting the field this fall, but Friday night lights could turn on again in the spring, the Virginia High School League announced Wednesday.
Centreville High School quarterback Jack Shields is working out this summer to prepare for a season that might not happen.
"It hurts a little bit. I know we're really excited to get going," Shields told News4.
The executive committee for the Virginia High School League, which oversees the state's high school athletic teams, met Wednesday to discuss the fall sports season and said it's considering three models for school sports and activities.
- Leave all sports in their current season.
- Golf and cross country would compete
- Football, field hockey, volleyball, and cheer would not compete
- Switch fall and spring seasons (football would play in spring)
- Track and field, tennis, soccer, baseball, and softball could compete
- Boys and girls lacrosse would not compete
- Delay all sports and condense seasons
- Season 1 (Winter) Dec. 14 – Feb. 20
- Season 2 (Fall) Feb. 15 – May 1 (would include football)
- Season 3 (Spring) April 12 – June 26
For many high school athletes, a few games can be the difference between earning a college scholarship or missing out.
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Shields says he has one college offer, and other schools are interested. But those schools want to see him in a few more games before offering him a chance at the next level.
"You play a lot better in games and that kind of environment is what coaches want to see you in," Shields said.
James Madison High School Football Coach Justin Counts says the change goes deeper than missing games.
"Nobody really wants to talk about the emotional strain that these guys are going through. It's a big deal for them. They're not going to be going back to school regularly. It's a big deal emotionally," Counts said.
"I think if they said we could play tomorrow, I think - as long as parents were okay with it - I think most kids would be there," Shields said.
The VHSL executive committee will vote on the three model options on July 27.