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HS Sports Adjustments Allow For 4-Sport Athletes

BY DAVE SHEA

The ongoing impact of the COVID-19 has created extreme challenge for school districts across the country.

The latest challenge came when the New York State Public High School Athletic Association decided to move the high risk fall sports of football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading into a Fall Season II which will begin on March 1. The designation of high and low-moderate sports was determined by the Department of Health.

Low-risk fall sports can begin practice on Sept. 21 and teams can begin playing games after 10 practices.

As a result of fall high-risk sports being moved, the starting date for the spring sports season has been adjusted to April 19, 2021.  The first official practice for spring sports will now be April 19, 2021 (the original start date was March 15). The winter sports season will begin on Nov. 30th.

The NYSPHAA move created the opportunity for New York State athletes to play four sport sports. There will be an overlap of one or two weeks when the Fall II season playoffs end and the start of fall practices.

"It is up to the individual sections but athletes could now play four sports. But they can not play two at the same time," said NYSPHAA President Dr. Robert Zayas in a zoom call with media from all areas of New York State on Wednesday night.

"There could be a small overlap at the end of the Fall Sports II and the Spring Sports seasons." Each section can set the end of its seasons and the NYSPHAA hopes that all Fall II play would be completed by May 1. Stipulations have also been created where an athlete can carry over practices.

Section 10 Athletic Coordinator Carl Normandin said on Thursday that Section 10 athletes will be able to take advantage of the opportunity of becoming a four-sport performers. Athletes can participate in soccer, swimming or cross country in the Fall I season and then compete on Winter, Fall II and Spring Sports teams.

That opportunity could be a boon for all of the Fall I and Fall II teams.

The state also allows coaches can also conduct voluntary off season workouts but must follow the guidelines set by the Department of Health for high school and youth sports.

In the face of all speculation revolving on the constantly evolving impact of the COVID-19 pandemic NYSPHSAA Director Dr. Robert Zayas said in his zoom meeting with the media "Northing is a Given."

"I am spending a great deal of time going over options. I have provided the Superintendent of Schools all of the information I can. It is going to be up to the superintendents to decide if there is going to be sports this fall in Section 10," said Section 10 Athletic Director Carl Normandin.

"At the present time there is no meeting set for the superintendents and athletic directors to decide on fall sports. If there is sports then the individual schools have to decide if they want to participate. I am here to serve the schools which have sports."

Ultimately the format used will depend on the number of schools participating.

The postseason will be the Section 10 Tournament where one change will be made. Only eight Class D Boys and Girls teams will compete for sectional title.

Normandin also confirmed that Massena Central can participate in sports even though their will be no in-school classes until Oct. 13.

"Because Massena chose to delay in-school classes because a spike in COVID-19 virus they can participate," said Normandin.

New York is now the 18th state or region to postpone fall high school football.

The others are: California,Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont. Virginia, Washington.


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