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NYSPHSAA DELAYS START OF FALL SPORTS; CANCELS REGIONAL & STATE CHAMPIONSHIP EVENTS (2020-07-16)

Tioga County Sports Report
LATHAM, N.Y. — The New York State Public High School Athletic Association voted Thursday to delay the start of the 2020 fall season to Sept. 21. The organization also chose to cancel all regional and state championship events for the fall season.

If COVID-19 forces the cancellation of the fall season, NYSPHSAA is also prepared to implement a condensed schedule in January 2021 which would include three spring seasons.

This decision comes at the recommendation of the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force when it convened as a working group for the third time this morning.

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

Also included in the decision:
•  Waiving the seven-day practice rule
•  Maintaining current practice requirements
•  Encouraging geographic scheduling for games and contests
•  Schools would have the option, if permitted by state officials, to offer off-season conditioning workouts

“We recognize this is challenging for everyone, but the decisions made at the state level are based upon data and statewide infection rates, all in an effort to stop the spread of Covid and re-open responsibly,” added Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director, in the release. “At this time, Department of Health guidance presented on July 13 prohibits interscholastic athletics across the state.

“The association will continue to follow state guidance and will work collectively with state officials to ensure high school athletics will start up responsibly in the future. As an association, we must be willing to be flexible and continue to explore all options with students’ safety as our main focus."

With regional differences, schools and areas will be impacted differently by the COVID-19 crisis.  At the discretion of the NYSPHSAA officers and authorization from state officials, if the fall sports seasons are interrupted or impacted by COVID-19 crisis (i.e. state official guidance, school closings, cancelation of high-risk sports, etc.) then a condensed seasons plan will be implemented.

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Condensed Seasons Plan
(Dates are tentative)

Season I (Winter Sports)
Dates: Jan. 4-March 13 (Week 27-36), 10 Weeks
Sports: basketball (girls & boys), bowling (girls & boys), gymnastics, ice hockey (girls & boys), indoor track & field (girls & boys), skiing (girls & boys), swimming (boys), wrestling, competitive cheer

NOTE: Because of the high-risk nature of wrestling and competitive cheer, these sports may have to be moved to Season II or Season III.

Season II (Fall Sports)
Dates: March 1-May 8 (Week 35-44), 10 Weeks
Sports: football, cross country (girls & boys), field hockey, soccer (girls & boys), swimming (girls), volleyball (girls & boys), unified bowling

NOTE: Weather will have an impact upon outdoor sports in some parts of the state in March and potentially early April. Girls tennis moved to Season III.

Season III (Spring Sports)
Dates: April 5-June 12 (Week 40-49), 10 Weeks
Sports: baseball, softball, golf (girls & boys), lacrosse (girls & boys), tennis (girls & boys), outdoor track & field (girls & boys), unified basketball

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