In The Red Zone: COVID-19 and VHSL: The Latest

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

ALERT: Old Dominion Athletic Conference Announces Season Plans; Emory & Henry to Depart Conference

 The Old Dominion Athletic Conference released an update on the status of all sports for the 2020-2021 academic year on Tuesday. The following statement was released on its website:

Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) leadership has continued its thorough review of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on athletic opportunities throughout the league’s membership. The ODAC Presidents’ Council, in consultation with the ODAC Board of Directors, has endorsed a plan for a return to collegiate competition during the 2021 spring semester.

“Every institution in the ODAC has been focused on ensuring the best possible student experience throughout the pandemic and the role athletics plays in that is an important one,” commented Dr. David Bushman, President of Bridgewater College and currently serving as chair of the ODAC Presidents Council. “As we have all learned over the past nine months, prudent planning and the capacity to respond quickly to changing circumstances go hand in hand. We believe putting detailed plans in place now for a return to competition beginning in January is the best way to honor the commitment we make to all of our students.”

The first priority of the conference leadership is ensuring the well-being of all individuals involved in collegiate competition and its member campuses. As such, the ODAC Presidents’ Council committed that the conference will follow all established NCAA testing recommendations. A Standard Operating Procedures for Competition has been completed. The document was developed by the ODAC Board of Directors and a number of member working groups including athletic training and sports medicine personnel.

The ODAC considered several different scheduling models as part of its return to competition plan. The resulting framework provides regular season and conference championship structures for fall and winter sports in addition to the unaltered previously established spring sport schedules and championships. Basketball, indoor track & field, and swimming will maintain their opportunities to qualify for NCAA championship participation. Second semester competition is scheduled to begin on January 23 with men’s and women’s basketball. All other sports will begin later as the semester progresses.

“The conference has worked diligently to create a plan for all our student-athletes to continue their collegiate athletic experience in the spring,” explained ODAC Commissioner Brad Bankston. “I am pleased with the progress we have made and the plans we have created. While no one can control the pandemic, we can continue to follow local guidance, implement well-documented best practices regarding health and safety, and prepare for competition following the recommendations presented by the NCAA. I thank all the student-athletes, parents, coaches and fans who have been patient with us during this difficult time. We’re all living in an environment where we must continue to closely monitor recommendations from health professionals and pivot when and where needed.”

Conference leadership will meet on a regular basis between now and the end of 2020 and continue with its planning for competition in 2021.  Leadership will track the progress of COVID-19 and subsequent health and safety recommendations provided by local, state and national public health authorities.

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Of note is the announcement that the 2020 football season will begin on Friday February 26 and will consist of up to five games, with additional information to come soon.

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In other conference news, Emory & Henry College announced on Tuesday it will depart the ODAC as a result of their decision to move up from NCAA's Division III to Division II. The Wasps plan to move to the South Athletic Conference as part of that upward move. That conference features the likes of UVA-Wise, Mars Hill, Catawba, Lenoir-Rhyne, and Queens University of Charlotte.

The move leaves the ODAC with twelve basketball members for both men and women, but the move reduces the number of football schools to seven, after the pending move of Southern Virginia University, a short-term football member, out of the conference after the 2020-21 season.




Saturday, November 14, 2020

WELCOME MUSTANGS!

Congratulations to Mechanicsville High School, unveiling their new nickname on Friday, choosing the Mustangs at an exciting ceremony in the school gym.

Colors for the Mustangs will be purple, orange, silver and black, giving them a "Clemson" type feel.

We look forward to the debut of the Mustangs in December!



Wednesday, September 30, 2020

FOOTBALL: 2020-21 Six-Game Schedules Released

We now know when, if football returns, we will have the excitement of Friday nights back with us.

Hanover County high school teams released their six-game schedules on Wednesday. They are listed below.


PATRICK HENRY:

2/26: vs. Henrico, 7pm

3/5: vs. Former Lee-Davis (Tomato Bowl 62), 7pm

3/12: at Varina, 7pm

3/19: at Hanover, 7pm

3/26: vs. Highland Springs, 7pm

4/2: vs. Atlee, 7pm


HANOVER:

2/26: vs. Armstrong, 7pm

3/5: at Atlee, 7pm

3/12: at Highland Springs, 7pm

3/19: vs. Patrick Henry, 7pm

3/26: vs. Varina, 7pm

4/2: at Lee-Davis, 7pm


ATLEE:

2/26: vs. Highland Springs, 7pm

3/5: vs. Hanover, 7pm

3/12: at Henrico, 7pm

3/19: at Former Lee-Davis, 7pm

3/26: vs. Armstrong, 7pm

4/2: at Patrick Henry, 7pm


FORMER LEE-DAVIS:

2/26: at Varina, 7pm

3/5: at Patrick Henry (Tomato Bowl 62), 7pm

3/12: vs. Armstrong, 7pm

3/19: vs. Atlee, 7pm

3/26: vs. Henrico, 7pm

4/2: vs. Hanover, 7pm


Tuesday, September 29, 2020

New School Names Proposed By School Board

 After the names "Twin Rivers High School" and "Mechanicsville Middle School" were scuttled as possible successors to Lee-Davis and Stonewall Jackson respectively, the Hanover County School Board held a retreat this past Friday and discussed the issue.

Hanover County Public Schools released the following statement midday on Tuesday:


At its planning retreat Friday, the Hanover County School Board reached consensus on new names for the schools formerly known as Lee-Davis High School and Stonewall Jackson Middle School.

The board signaled support during open discussion for Mechanicsville as the new name for the high school and Bell Creek as the new name for the middle school. A formal vote is expected at the board’s October 13 meeting. 

The board also voiced its appreciation for the input it received from families, staff, and the broader community over the past several weeks, as well as the work of the School Renaming Committee.

School Board policy stipulates that schools cannot be named after any person, living or deceased.

Once the board has voted, new mascots will be chosen for the two schools. That is a school-based decision and we will communicate more information about the mascot selection process as it becomes available.

Thank you for your time and input throughout this process.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Catch Up On "In The Red Zone"!

 Above through August 20th you will find the latest editions of "In The Red Zone", heard live every Monday evening from 6 to 7pm on 102.9 The Mater (102.9 FM/1430 AM), here on our website at the link to the right, and on the TuneIn radio app on "Radiall".


August 3: Former Atlee and current Duke softball standout Peyton St. George discusses her recent article on mental health issues, which can be read HERE. A fascinating conversation!

August 10: Randolph-Macon head football coach Pedro Arruza joins us to discuss the suspension of fall sports for the school and Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and what he, his staff, and his players have been doing to still advance the program forward despite COVID-19!


Tuesday, July 21, 2020

POSTPONED: No Fall Sports at Randolph-Macon

The following was announced by the Randolph-Macon College Athletic Department on Tuesday afternoon.

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ASHLAND, Va. - After extensive deliberations, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) Presidents Council voted to postpone conference competition and championships for fall and winter sports through the end of the 2020 calendar year (December 31). The ODAC remains focused on providing meaningful competition for all student-athletes in 2020-21, which includes an intention to sponsor conference competition for fall and winter sports in the spring semester.

"We know how disappointing this news is for our fall athletes, their families, the R-MC community, and Yellow Jackets everywhere. We share in your disappointment," said Robert R. Lindgren, President of Randolph-Macon College. "The College remains committed to a comprehensive intercollegiate athletics program and the wonderful student-athletes who represent the College with distinction."

After consulting with conference officials and medical personnel the Presidents and Athletic Directors decided that the perceived risks and financial burden associated with the resumption of intercollegiate travel and competition proved too great. Athletics and the student-athletes that comprise it play a crucial role in our college community and we look forward to working to provide a positive and meaningful student-athlete experience amid the unprecedented challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The collegiate athletic experience at Randolph-Macon College is a valuable part of our co-curricular educational mission to develop the mind and character of our students," said Jeff Burns, R-MC Director of Athletics. "However, the health and safety of our campus and communities must be our highest priority."

Seasons are postponed for Yellow Jacket football, field hockey, men's and women's soccer, and women's volleyball, as well as fall schedules for men's and women's golf and men's and women's tennis. Men's and women's basketball as well as men's and women's swimming will not compete against outside competition prior to Jan. 1, 2021.  When it can be safely done, student-athletes can participate in allowable team activities.

To help the ODAC and its member schools provide their student-athletes with the most complete athletic experience possible, NCAA Division III is considering a blanket waiver that would provide unprecedented scheduling flexibility. The scheduling change would provide all conference sports more time for individual and team skill instruction, strength and conditioning, leadership development, and other athletically related activities during the academic year as health and safety conditions allow.
"These are certainly unprecedented times and we are developing plans to have athletic competitions early in the spring academic calendar," Burns said. "In the meantime, our coaches are organizing ways to utilize the fall semester for greater personal and player development, varied strength and conditioning opportunities, and team building exercises. Our players will benefit from the extended time and we will be prepared to play when competition resumes."
Randolph-Macon will begin classes on August 24 with two seven-week sessions comprised of two classes each with final exams taking place online after Thanksgiving. 

For more information on the upcoming year and campus policies please visit https://www.rmc.edu/campus-life/protect.

Click here to view ODAC release.


Randolph-Macon College NCAA Athletics Fall 2020 Return to Campus Q&A
Last Updated 7/21/20
This document will be updated as new information becomes available.

1. What sports will be able to compete during the fall semester?
Randolph-Macon College will not be competing in any sports during the 2020 fall semester due to college policies restricting travel and visitors on campus.

2. Will fall and winter sports compete at all in 2020-2021?
No athletic competition will occur until at least January 1, 2021. The College, the athletic department, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, infectious disease experts, and the NCAA will work together to evaluate any options for fall/winter sports competition in the winter and/or spring.

3. When will students know if winter and spring sports are happening?
We know that there will not be any athletic competition until at least January 1, 2021. No decisions have been made about the January or Spring Terms yet. The College, the athletic department, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, infectious disease experts, and the NCAA, will make a determination about winter and spring sports at a future date.

4. Will fall and winter season teams be able to compete during the January or Spring Terms?
We are investigating opportunities with the NCAA to shift our competitive season for fall and winter sports to the January/spring terms. We are committed to trying to provide meaningful competitive opportunities to our fall and winter teams during the January/spring terms.

5. What impact would only being able to practice or play a limited number of games have on my eligibility with the NCAA?
Under NCAA rules, students will not use a season of eligibility if their team does not compete during the traditional sport season. On July 9, the NCAA issued a blanket waiver that states that student-athletes will not be charged with participation for the 2020-21 season if their team can complete only 50% or less of the sport's maximum contests/dates of competition due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA also approved a second blanket waiver which permits student-athletes to receive a two semester extension of eligibility if the student-athlete is unable to participate in their sport during the 2020-21 academic year due to the impact of COVID-19 or if the student-athlete's team completed 50% or less of the sport's maximum contests/dates of competition due to COVID-19. This waiver applies to all sports (fall, winter, and spring).

6. Will all sports participate in a non-traditional season this fall? 
For those students who are on campus and who are members of our fall, winter, and spring varsity programs, practices will be permitted in accordance with institutional, state, and NCAA safety protocols, including physical distancing. Pre-participation forms (medical and NCAA), concussion baseline testing, and COVID screening will be required and reviewed prior to participating in team activities.
The NCAA is currently considering a waiver that would provide institutions flexibility in their sport seasons during 2020-21. This will most likely allow schools to count their playing seasons in 114 days. The NCAA's current structure requires a weekly sports calendar and does not provide as much flexibility as offered in the proposed waiver. A final decision on the waiver is expected following the Division III Management Council Meeting on July 20-21.

7. Has the NCAA announced any changes to the 2020-2021 championships?
There have been no announcements regarding any adjustments to the NCAA championships.

8. When will student-athletes arrive on campus now that the fall preseason has been canceled?
Fall sport student-athletes will arrive in shifts, as assigned by Residence Life, between 9am-3pm on August 18th.
Winter and Spring student-athletes will arrive with the rest of the student body, in shifts assigned by Residence Life. New students will be assigned a day and time on August 19th or August 20th; returning students will be assigned a day and time on August 21st, 22nd, or 23rd. Assignments will be forthcoming shortly from Residence Life.

9. Will all fall athletes be subject to testing for COVID-19 when they arrive on campus as originally planned in the campus reopening plan?
No. Testing protocols for student-athletes will be determined by the College's COVID-19 Health and Safety squad (including the Director of Sports Medicine) in consultation with the athletic department, the Old Dominion Athletic Conference, and infectious disease experts, and with consideration of NCAA recommendations.

10. Will student-athletes who are on campus for the fall have access to the services and support provided through athletic training services?
The athletics administration is continuing to work on specific protocols regarding athletic training services. More information will be provided as soon as possible.

11. Will all athletic facilities be open?
Facilities will be open for the campus community while observing state and institutional guidelines, including physical distancing. As this is a fluid situation, we cannot guarantee what will be available or when. We are working on plans to enable safe usage of these spaces as well as increased cleaning and sanitizing. Access to facilities may change during the semester, depending on changing state and institutional guidelines.

12. Will student-athletes have access to locker rooms?
Student-athletes will not have access to locker rooms.

13. Will intramural sports be able to practice and/or compete?
Intramural sports will not be able to practice or compete in the fall semester.


For additional information please visit https://www.rmc.edu/campus-life/protect.

Wednesday, July 08, 2020

Division III: ODAC Hopeful, Centennial Calls It Off For Fall

The Centennial Conference, whose members include Johns Hopkins, Muhlenberg, and Dickinson, announced Tuesday that their 2020 football season will not be held in the fall, but held out for the possibility of spring play in 2021.
Randolph-Macon football was supposed to open their 2020 season September 5th at home against Dickinson. That game was postponed last week when the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) announced no fall sports could begin regular season play before September 11th, and now is likely canceled.
At this time, there is no word on whether the football season would now begin September 12th when the Yellow Jackets are scheduled to play at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. An issue would be the feasibility to be able to have enough practices, and possibly a scrimmage, safely ahead of the September 12th date.
The Yellow Jackets are scheduled to begin ODAC play on September 19th at Emory and Henry.
Meanwhile, men's soccer's Labor Day Weekend season opening home doubleheader on September 5th and 6th is postponed, as is women's soccer's first four contests, including a scheduled home opener with Mary Washington September 9th. Women's volleyball has five matches slated prior to the 11th, and are scheduled to be in Lexington on the 11th for matches on that Friday and Saturday. Field Hockey will have their first four matches postponed, all scheduled between September 1st and 9th.
You can track updates on schools and conferences across Division III Football as to their status for 2020 at the link below from our friends at D3Football.com by clicking HERE.