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Now The Question Is, Is It Precedent-Setting And Will Other Sections Follow?

By Rich Thomaselli
HVSR Staff

Section 9’s Athletic Council this morning voted to move all fall high school sports to March, shifting the entire season to the spring barely 16 hours after the New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced it would only move high-risk fall sports football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading to a March 1 start.

High school sports will begin on November 30 with the start of the winter season. The fall season will follow from March to April and the spring season from May through June, with exact start dates to be determined.

Off-season workouts and conditioning for all fall sports can begin on Sept. 21, as long as each team follows the rules and guidelines established by the NYSPHSAA, the Governor and the State Department of Health.

“This resolution was presented to the Athletic Council by the Section IX COVID-19 Task Force.  This decision was based on two main determining factors: the safety of the students and the fact that so many of our Section IX school districts are conducting all classes via remote learning,” Section 9 Executive Director Gregory Ransom said in a statement. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, Section IX in conjunction with our school districts will monitor developments and make changes when needed.”

Now comes the big question: will other sections across the state – and, more importantly, district superintendents who have the final say – follow Section 9’s lead?

Remember, school superintendents under the leadership of their lobby group in Albany, the New York Council of School Superintendents, sent a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo asking him to reconsider his recommendation to allow school sports to start on Sept. 21. Superintendents asked Cuomo to move all sports to a January start with three condensed seasons between January and June.

Will a compromise of starting one month earlier on Nov. 30 be enough for sections and district superintendents to agree to utilize the Section 9 plan? So far, Section 1 has delayed the start of fall sports to Sept. 29 and Section 8 (Nassau County, Long Island) has already voted to delay all fall sports to January.

Another question is what becomes of winter sports basketball, wrestling and ice hockey, which have been designated as high-risk sports by the state Department of Health? A decision will need to be made prior to Nov. 30.

One Dutchess County superintendent, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said he believes the rest of the state will fall in line.

“Domino effect,” he said. “If one or two more sections announce they will do the same (as Section 9), then all of us will likely follow suit.”

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