New York State Public High School Athletic Association considers switching sports seasons

new york state public high school athletic association
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The New York State Public High School Athletic Association is considering switching high school sports season for the 2020-21 school year. Earlier this week, the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force announced six potential scenarios (below) that are considered a “starting point or framework.”

The state governing body started the scenarios with a completely normal season with practice starting on-time on August 24th. Scenario 3 offers suggestions for flip-flopping Fall and Spring sports seasons.

Inside Scenario 3 there are two proposed seasons for football. Adjustment A season runs from March 15th through June 12th. Adjustment B for football would have the season start March 1 and run through April 24. Another scenario for football is a season from March 1st through May 8.

Until guidance and direction is provided by Governor Cuomo and the New York State Education Department, nothing can be finalized or decided upon by NYSPHSAA. At this time, there is no definitive date for a decision to be made.

From NYSPHSAA website

The NYSPHSAA said it recently surveyed 6,000 superintendents, principals, athletic directors and coaches and found that fan attendance rated very low in areas of importance with the safety of students rated the highest priority.
The organization added that fan attendance at games and contests will be dedicated by social distancing restrictions, local and state health department declarations.

NYSPHSAA Scenarios

Scenario 1

No changes needed. All sports played as scheduled with social distancing restrictions.

Scenario 2

Schools open with hybrid education (combination of in-person & virtual learning); includes athletic participation.

Scenario 3

Schools only provide distance learning (virtual education); includes athletic participation.

Proposal to address scenario #2 & #3 (Season Adjustments A & B)

Depending upon the severity of the social distancing restrictions in place, sports seasons would need to be adjusted. This proposal would allow for low/moderate risk sports to be played at the beginning of the school year, with higher risk sports played towards the end of the 2020-2021 school year.

SEASON ADJUSTMENT A

Fall season

Dates: Aug. 24-Dec. 5 (Week 8-22) 15 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: [LOW RISK] baseball, softball, outdoor track & field (girls & boys), golf (girls & boys), tennis (girls), swimming & diving (girls), lacrosse (girls), bowling (girls & boys).

Note: Outdoor track & field would be held in the fall to separate from football, soccer, and field hockey to maximize participation at start of school year.

Winter season

Dates: Nov. 16-Mar. 20 (Week 20-37) 18 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: [MODERATE RISK] basketball (girls & boys), indoor track & field (girls & boys), gymnastics, swimming & diving (boys), ice hockey, skiing (girls & boys), volleyball (girls & boys), Unified bowling.

Spring season

Dates: Mar. 15-June 12 (Week 37-49) 13 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: [HIGH RISK/ MODERATE RISK] football, soccer (girls & boys), field hockey, cross country (girls & boys), lacrosse (boys), competitive cheer, tennis (boys), wrestling, Unified basketball.

Note: Participation conflict with football, boys lacrosse and wrestling in the same season; facility conflict with football, boys lacrosse, soccer, and field hockey.

— OR —

SEASON ADJUSTMENT B

Fall season I

Dates: Aug. 24-Oct. 17 (Week 8-15) 8 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: [LOW RISK] golf (girls & boys), tennis (girls & boys), bowling (girls & boys) cross country (girls & boys).

Fall season II

Dates: Oct. 19-Dec. 12 (Week 16-23) 8 Weeks *Note: tentative datesSports: [LOW RISK] swimming & diving (girls & boys), gymnastics, volleyball (girls & boys)

Winter season

Dates: Jan. 4-Feb. 19 (Week 27-34) 8 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: [MODERATE RISK] basketball (girls & boys), indoor track & field (girls & boys), ice hockey, skiing (girls & boys), Unified bowling.

Spring season I

Dates: Mar. 1-Apr. 24 (Week 35-42) 8 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: [HIGH RISK/ MODERATE RISK] football, soccer (girls & boys), field hockey, competitive cheer, Unified basketball.

Spring season II

Dates: Apr. 26-June 12 (Week 42-49) 8 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: [HIGH RISK/ MODERATE RISK] baseball, softball, outdoor track & field, lacrosse (girls & boys), wrestling, Unified basketball.

Scenario 4

Schools open with hybrid education (combination of in-person & virtual learning); does NOT include athletic participation at start of school year.

Scenario 5

Schools only provide distance learning; does NOT include athletic participation at start of school year.

Proposal to address scenario #4 & #5 (Condensed seasons)

With social distancing restrictions in place, sports cannot be played at the start of the school year. Instead of canceling the Fall season and start of Winter season, sports seasons will be realigned into three ten-week seasons starting in January, with game limits reduced, and the potential of having an even later start date and a further condensed season if sports are not
able to begin in early January.

This will provide school districts the opportunity to adapt to a new school setting before addressing extracurricular participation challenges.

Season I

Dates: Jan. 4-Mar. 13 (Week 27-36) 10 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: basketball (girls & boys), bowling (girls & boys), gymnastics, ice hockey, indoor track & field (girls & boys), skiing (girls & boys), swimming (boys).

Season II

Dates: Mar. 1-May 8 (Week 35-44) 10 Weeks *Note: tentative dates
Sports: football, competitive cheer, wrestling, 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.

Season III

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.

Scenario 6

Regional differences in start dates & learning platforms.

Proposal to address scenario #6 (Regional Differences)

With regional differences in confirmed COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and school openings, sports seasons should be amended on a Sectional or Regional basis with the focus of engaging students to provide participation opportunities. No statewide consistency in sport seasons determined. No State Championships contested.

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.