LATHAM - In accordance with Governor Cuomo’s announcement Friday that schools will be limited to at-home learning for the rest of the academic school year, the NYSPHSAA canceled spring sports.
Any chance of spring sports returning was contingent on the decision of students being allowed to get back into school.
Local athletic directors were holding out hope that some sort of season would be played, but are cognizant of the Governor’s decision.
“I understand the situation,” Corning Painted-Post athletic director Damian Saks said. “I understand the decision for the health and safety going forward. It’s tough. You always have a glimmer of hope, but Cuomo’s decision brings a finality to things. It’s a tough scenario, but you get it.”
For senior athletes, it’s a tough pill to swallow knowing they had their senior season ripped out from underneath them due to the pandemic.
“After I saw other states began closing their schools I knew it was only a matter of time until it was our turn,” said Haverling senior baseball player Justin Marshall. “The news didn’t come as a shock, but almost just like a reality check when you finally realize it’s really over.”
The work athletes put in their whole career in preparation for their senior season to not see it through leaves an unprecedented, empty feeling.
“Knowing you have worked so hard in not only the classroom, but with sports the past 11 years all leading up to not being able to have the satisfaction of finishing it all is something that no generation before us has ever had to feel,” said Marshall. “It’s definitely hitting hard.”
Local athletic directors are constantly having conversations in regards to how to honor these athletes that won’t get a chance to put on a uniform again.
“We’re communicating with coaches different ways they can draw highlights to their seniors,” Haverling athletic director Randy Abrams said.
Most end of the year banquets that celebrate senior athletes that are a staple of the end of every school year still need to be worked out.
“We’ve got senior awards, senior scroll banquet and we’re still trying to figure out how we’re going to do all of those things,” said Saks. “Things are still in the planning process. We have to figure out how to celebrate our seniors when we can’t be together with them.”
Next, the NYSPHSAA will put together an ad hoc committee comprised of school and district superintendents, principals, athletic directors, Section Executive Directors and NYSPHSAA’s Executive Director as well as potential representation from the NYS Education Department, NYS School Boards Association and the NYS Department of Health.
The committee will meet to discuss the potential impact of COVID-19 on the fall 2020 sports season in the coming weeks.
“We’re still scheduling fall and winter events as normal,” said Abrams. “We have to figure out what the school is going to look like. It’s definitely a wait and see approach.”
The always optimistic Saks foresees a fall season, albeit with potential restrictions based on what happens with COVID-19 in the coming months.
“I think we’ll be around,” said Saks. “There may be alterations. Games without fans, or how they’ll go about things on a national level. With everything subject to change.”
This decision comes on the heels of NYSPHSAA canceling the 2020 winter championships on March 23.
As for summer activities, Sections will meet Monday to discuss if they will be feasible given the nature of the pandemic.
“I’m getting less optimistic that we’re going to have summer programs,” Abrams said. “We’ll get guidance from the state and the department of health on how to proceed if we can. We just don’t know yet. There’s just so many questions.”