NYSPHSAA begins discussions to formulate plan for fall sports season

NYSPHSAA officials and its COVID-19 Task Force each met to discuss the latest state guidance on sports and how to implement it into forming the fall season. Discussions are ongoing.

Posted: Aug 26, 2020 12:30 AM

WKTV - The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) has begun preparations for the fall season after Governor Cuomo announced lower- and moderate-risk sports can begin play on September 21.

The Association held vitrual meetings, Tuesday morning, with the eleven section executives, officers and NYSPHSAA staff in order to go over the specifics of the latest state guidance.

In the afternoon, the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force met for the fourth time to do the same and begin to discuss how to best implement them into a fall season.

"We are encouraged and appreciative of Governor Cuomo authorizing the start of the fall sports seasons for low and moderate risk sports and affording high risk sports the opportunity to begin practicing on September 21st," said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. "As the governing body for interscholastic sports in NYS, our primary role will be to work with schools, coaches and parents to ensure recommended COVID-19 guidelines are practiced vigilantly for the safety and wellness of all student-athletes. Over 200,000 students participate in the fall high school sports seasons and yesterday's announcement was certainly a positive step for all those athletes."

These groups will meet again before the end of the week to continue discussions. Decisions regarding logistics of fall sports will be addressed such as the number of required practices for student-athletes before being eligible for games, the maximum number of contests a team can participate in, and protocols to put in place for schools and teams to adhere to throughout the state.

"The leadership of NYSPHSAA and eleven sections realize there are challenges to overcome and questions to be addressed in an effort to provide a beneficial participation experience for student-athletes this fall," said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President and Chair of the COVID-19 Task Force. "Our primary goal is to get students back into an academic setting and then work on athletic participation opportunities."

As of now, sports with the greatest opportunity for distancing, considered lower- or moderate-risk sports, such as cross country, golf, soccer, field hockey, are allowed to move forward with practices and games.

Higher-risk sports, such as football, volleyball, basketball and ice hockey, are allowed to practice as a team beginning on September 21, but not play against other teams at the youth or interscholastic level at this time.

Those restrictions are in place until at least October 19.

Stay with NEWSChannel 2 for the latest.

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