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COVID-19: New York HS Winter Varsity Championships Canceled, High-Risk Sports Stay On Hold

The NYSPHSAA canceled the 2021 winter championships and postponed the start of high-risk high school sports.
The NYSPHSAA canceled the 2021 winter championships and postponed the start of high-risk high school sports. Photo Credit: Pixabay/PDPics

With COVID-19 cases on the rise across the state, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced it will be throwing in the towel on its winter sports championships.

The NYSPHSAA officially canceled the 2021 winter state championships on Friday, Dec. 11, and postponed all high-risk sports until further notice unless they are given the green light by state health officials that it would be safe to resume activities.

Sports considered “high risk” by the Association are: basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, football, ice hockey, volleyball, and wrestling. If there is a postseason for those sports, decisions on a championship will be determined at the section level.

NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas said that the Association factored in schools’ concerns about traveling, staying at hotels, and the logistics of transportation students and coaches safely amid the pandemic.

“When examining the feasibility of Winter State Championships, it became apparent that travel and overnight accommodations would create a unique challenge for our member schools,” he announced. “At this time, we must prioritize maximizing student participation without a focus on championship events.”

Low- and moderate-risk regular season sports continue to be allowed, and the 2021 NYSPHSAA sign state championships are still planned for next year. The winter season is scheduled to start on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

“As an educator, I am witnessing first-hand the challenges of our member schools are facing each day in addressing this pandemic,” NYSPHSAA President Julie Bergman said. “It is important we continue listening to the concerns being expressed by our membership when making decisions impacting interscholastic athletics.” 

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