The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced on July 16 that the start date for the fall sports season has been pushed back to Sept. 21 and the regional and state championship tournaments are cancelled as well.

According to a press release, this decision was made based on a recommendation by the NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force earlier on Thursday.

The fall season was originally set to begin on Aug. 24, though Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA President, said?it is "unrealistic" to believe the season could begin at that time while the state is reopening.

“The priority will continue to be on the educational process and a return to learning in the safest way possible,” Harrica said.

In the case of a region's fall season being interrupted or affected by COVID-19, the organization has prepared a plan for a condensed season that would begin in January 2021. That plan would look this:

Season I (Winter Sports):

  • Dates: Jan. 4-Mar. 13 (Week 27-36) 10 Weeks
  • 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
  • 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
  • Sports: baseball, softball, golf (girls & boys), lacrosse (girls & boys), tennis (girls & boys), outdoor track & field (girls & boys), Unified basketball.

It should be noted that all dates stated above are tentative.

“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 the release. “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.”

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