High-risk sports, Section IV postpones to spring season
NEW YORK STATE--The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced Wednesday, Sept. 9 that football, volleyball and competitive cheer fall seasons will be postponed until March 1, 2021 to address concerns associated with high-risk fall sports and the COVID-19 pandemic. Low and moderate risk fall sports, meanwhile, are still authorized to begin practices on Sept. 21 as previously announced and reported.
"We've spent two days speaking with nearly 500 athletic directors across the state and it's clear that administering high-risk fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge for our member schools," said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director. "These are unprecedented times and unfortunately, difficult decisions will have to be made to address this ongoing crisis. We continue to stay committed to providing support to our member schools and quality participation experiences for the students we serve."
The revised season for football, volleyball and fall competitive cheer will be known as "Fall Sports Season II" and may officially begin practices on March 1, 2021.
As a result of fall high-risk sports being moved, the start date for the spring sports season has been adjusted to April 19, 2021. The first official practice for spring sports will now be April 19, 2021 (the original start date was March 15).
Individual sections and schools are now making decisions about whether to host any fall sports or not. Section V, including Dundee and Penn Yan will move forward with low/moderate risk fall sports. The Interscholastic Athletic Conference in Section IV, which includes Watkins Glen and Odessa-Montour, have decided to postpone the entire fall season to the new spring dates.
"During these unprecedented times with COVID impacting our lives in many ways, one group dealing with that impact are our student-athletes," the IAC said in a media release. "It is therefore incredibly difficult to make changes to traditional athletic schedules in our schools. But we are in the midst of a pandemic and the most important consideration when making any decision, is the safety of our young people. It is also important for our student-athletes, parents and communities to have accurate information."
The statement continues, "On Friday, Sept. 11, the athletic directors of the IAC voted to postpone the Fall 2020 sports season until March of 2021. This means that the IAC will follow the condensed three-sport season for all sports as established by NYSPHSAA. The winter season will start at the beginning of January 2021 (there is a possibility it may begin on Nov. 30), the fall sport season will begin in March 2021 and the spring sport season will begin in April 2021. Specific dates will be determined by the NYSPHSAA."
In the state document released Wednesday night, it would have allowed low/moderate risk sports to be played this fall, but with the ultimate decision up to schools and sections. However, the uncertainty of scheduling, state aid and health precautions has made many districts question the ability to play even before the state guidance.
A new finalized return to sports document has been released by the state and is available here: https://tinyurl.com/nyfallsports.
"These are unprecedented times and unfortunately, difficult decisions will have to be made to address this ongoing crisis," said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director. "We continue to stay committed to providing support to our member schools and quality participation experiences for the students we serve."
"This continues to be the most challenging situation educators have ever addressed," added Julie Bergman, NYSPHSAA president, in relation to the pandemic and public schools.
Regular season games can begin for low and moderate risk fall sports (girls tennis, cross country, girls swimming/diving, boys soccer, girls soccer, field hockey) once student-athletes have participated in the required number of practices as per NYSPHSAA bylaws.