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If Coronavirus Interrupts That Date, Fall Will Be Moved To Spring

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

The fall season for high school sports, originally scheduled to begin Aug. 24, will now be delayed until Sept. 21, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced today, citing the current – and potential – impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

In addition, even if the fall season is able to resume in late September, all fall regional and state championship tournaments will be canceled. And if the fall season cannot begin on Sept. 21, the state is prepared to implement a condensed season schedule for all sports that would start in January 2021.

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

The NYSPHSAA Officers’ decision includes:

  • Delay Fall sports start date until Monday, September 21st (NYSPHSAA PAUSE)
  • Cancel Fall Regional and State Championship events
  • Waive seven-day practice rule
  • Maintain current practice requirements
  • Encourage geographic scheduling for games & 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,” Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director, said in a statement. “At this time, Department of Health guidance presented on July 13th 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.”

The decision is a crushing blow to athletes who participate in falls sports – football, boys and girls soccer, volleyball, girls swimming, girls tennis, MHAL golf, field hockey and cross country – as well as multi-sport athletes returning to school in September who had their entire spring season canceled earlier this year.

If the Fall sports seasons are interrupted or impacted by the COVID-19 crisis (i.e. state official guidance, school closings, cancelation of high-risk sports, etc.) then a condensed seasons plan will be implemented.

The Condensed Season plan would entail the following, with the stipulated dates being tentative.

Season I (Winter Sports)
Dates: Jan. 4-Mar. 13 (Week 27-36) 10 Weeks *Note: tentative dates

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.

* Because of high risk nature of wrestling and competitive cheer, sports may have to be moved to Season II or season III.

Season II (Fall Sports)
Dates: Mar. 1-May 8 (Week 35-44) 10 Weeks *Note: tentative dates

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: Apr. 5-Jun. 12 (Week 40-49) 10 Weeks *Note: tentative dates

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


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