NYSPHSAA delays start of fall sports until Sept. 21

Tom Passmore
The Leader

LATHAM - On Thursday, Officers of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association voted to delay the official start date of the fall 2020 season until September 21 and cancel the fall 2020 regional and state championships.

Fall sports were originally slated to begin on August 24th.

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

The decision on Thursday gives local Athletic Directors a date that they can work with in terms of scheduling.

“We were originally set and ready to go for the August 24th date,” Corning-Painted Post Athletic Director Damian Saks said. “Now we have to look at how we’re going to schedule as a section. The decision opens up a few more weeks without state and regional championships that will help us in terms of scheduling.”

The NYSPHSAA’s decision comes after state government officials shared guidelines for opening schools in the fall.

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

If the new fall sports season date is interrupted or impacted by COVID-19 then a condensed seasons plan will be implemented, according to the NYSPHSAA.

The condensed schedule would be as follows, with the stipulated dates being tentative.

Season I (winter sports)

Dates: January 4 - March 13

Sports: basketball (girls & boys), bowling (girls & boys), gymnastics, ice hockey (girls & boys), indoor track and field (girls & boys), skiing (girls & boys), swimming (boys & girls), *wrestling, * competitive cheer. (Because of high risk nature of wrestling and competitive cheer, sports may be moved to season II or season III.

Season II (fall sports)

Dates: March 1- May 8

Sports: football, cross country (girls & boys), field hockey, soccer (girls & boys), volleyball (girls & boys), unified bowling.

Season III (spring sports)

Dates: April 5- June 12

Sports: baseball, softball, golf (girls & boys), lacrosse (girls & boys), tennis (girls & boys), outdoor track and field (girls & boys), unified basketball.

The condensed schedule, as currently presented, could present problems regarding two or three sport athletes with seasons overlapping.

“I applaud the fact that they are trying to get all sports in,” said Saks. “The dates are tentative, and that’s the key right now if it reaches that point.”