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Sports

COVID-19: High School Sports Delayed, Fall Championships Canceled By NYSPHSAA

Interscholastic sports are officially on hold.
Interscholastic sports are officially on hold. Photo Credit: File photo

Interscholastic sports are officially on hold due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) voted to delay the official start of the fall 2020 sports season and cancel the 2020 Regional and State Championships.

Instead, NYSPHSAA said it will prepare to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 if sports remain prohibited due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The condensed season, if put into place, would include:

Season I (winter sports) - Monday, Jan. 4 through Saturday, March 13:

  • Basketball;
  • Bowling;
  • Gymnastics;
  • Ice hockey;
  • Indoor track and field;
  • Skiing;
  • Swimming.

Season II (fall sports) - Monday, March 1 through Saturday, May 8:

  • Football;
  • Cross Country;
  • Field hockey;
  • Swimming;
  • Volleyball;
  • Soccer;
  • Unified bowling.

Season III (spring sports) - Monday, April 5 through Saturday, June 12:

  • Baseball;
  • Softball;
  • Golf;
  • Lacrosse;
  • Tennis;
  • Outdoor track and field;
  • Unified basketball.

The decision came following weeks of discussion by the NYSPHSAA’s COVID-19 Task Force.

“As the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on (Monday), Aug. 24 as originally scheduled,” NYSPHSAA President Paul Harrica said. “The priority will continue to be on the educational process and a return to learning in the safest possible way.

In addition to delaying the season, NYSPHSAA is also waiving the seven-day practice rule, maintaining current practice requirements, and encourage re-scheduling games geographically.

Schools will have the option, if permitted by state health officials, to offer off-season conditioning workouts.

“We recognize that this is a challenge for everyone, but the decisions made at the state level are based upon data and statewide infection rates in an effort to stop the spread of COVID and reopen responsibly,” NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas said.

“At this time, Department of Health guidance presented on Monday, July 13 prohibits interscholastic athletics across the state,” he continued. “As an association, we must be willing to be flexible and continue to explore all options with students’ safety as our main focus.” 

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