New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) officers voted to delay the official start date of the Fall 2020 sports season, cancel the Fall 2020 Regional and State Championships, and prepare to implement a condensed season schedule in January 2021 if high school sports remain prohibited throughout 2020 due to COVID-19.
This decision comes at the recommendation of the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force when they convened as a working group on July 16.
“As the state considers reopening, it is unrealistic to believe athletic seasons can start on August 24 as originally scheduled,” said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA president. “The priority will continue to be on the educational process and a return to learning in the safest way possible.”
The NYSPHSAA decision includes:
- Delay fall sports start date until Monday, Sept. 21
- Cancel fall regional and state championship events
- Waive seven-day practice rule
- Maintain current practice requirements
- Encourage 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 reopen responsibly,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director. “At this time, state 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.”
At the discretion of 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 plan will be developed and implemented.
NYSPHSAA officers have the ability to adjust seasons with the authority granted within the NYSPHSAA Constitution which states: “Article IV, 2: A committee of officers in consultation with the staff shall have the authority to act on all matters not provided for in this constitution and bylaws, and on such emergency business as may arise between regular meetings of the Executive Committee.”