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Athletic Directors Urge Governor To Start Winter Sports

BY DAVE SHEA

All quiet on the Western front; the Northern front, the Eastern front and the Southern front.

Like the eerie quiet around high school sports facilities, no news has been received about the pause on high risk sports since Dec. 11 when the New York State High School Athletic Association announced that all winter sports state championships were cancelled and ‘high risk’ winter sports were indefinitely on pause.

But no news is hardly good news when it comes to anyone involved in high school sports.

Awaiting word from the New York State Department of Health the NYSPHAA announced that high risk winter sports (basketball, hockey, wrestling, competitive cheerleading) ‘until authorization is granted’ from state officials.

But behind the scenes pressure has been mounting to gain action from New York Governor Andrew Cuomo to end the pause.

Parents in areas of the state and have filed lawsuits, the New York State Amateur Hockey Association has retained a lawyer to file a law suit against the governor to allow competition in their sport (see photo of letter below) and reportedly a bill has been introduced in the New York State Assembly.

On Thursday the New York State Athletic Administrators Association has joined in the move sending a letter to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, outlining their desire and plan to begin all winter sports immediately.

As representatives of the over 780 Athletic Administrators in New York State, we implore you to reconsider the decision to forego “high-risk” sports for the Winter and potentially the remainder of the school year to permit play to begin immediately so these athletes can salvage a small season as some end their high school athletic careers. There are no state championships planned. Student-athletes are screened daily. Spectators are not permitted in most cases and if so will be severely limited in numbers. There is no glory other than allowing an athlete to compete against an opponent to ultimate personal victory for self, family, and school. We know that you can appreciate fighting the good fight.

As a professional association, we ask for this with the knowledge that those sports are not only safe to run, but will be overseen by Athletic Administrators that have worked tirelessly to develop protocols to deal with the COVID-19 virus should there be an isolated case. There are many documents authored by groups concerned directly with maintaining a safe environment for students, staff, and the surrounding communities and should be considered as a guide to the opening of a full sports program. We have followed the NFHS, CDC, and DOH guidelines to the letter to begin our limited seasons and now feel confident that after seeing how the rest of the country has celebrated successes, it is time for New York to lead again.

NOTE: a copy of the letter appeared in several media outlets around the state. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo,


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