PIAA endorses school sports for the fall in Pa., but delays decision for 2 weeks

WPVI logo
Friday, August 7, 2020
PIAA endorses school sports for the fall, but delays decision
The PIAA has delayed a decision about whether to follow the governor's recommendation to postpone sports until January.

HARRISURG, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association, the major governing body of school sports in Pennsylvania, has delayed a decision about whether to follow the governor's recommendation to postpone sports until January.

However, the PIAA said it believes a fall sports season can be conducted safely.

In a statement released Friday, the PIAA said it believes that strict adherence to plans previously established by the governor's office and schools should "provide a reasonably safe environment for student-athletes to participate in interscholastic athletics as currently scheduled."

However, the PIAA said all mandatory fall sports activities are to be paused between now and its next board meeting on Friday, August 21. That means the earliest those activities could resume is Monday, August 24.

Voluntary workouts can continue for those two weeks, the PIAA said.

RELATED: High school sports in Delaware delayed until December

The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association voted on Thursday to postpone high school sports until at least December.

"PIAA remains committed to providing a season for each of the sports during the 2020-2021 school year," the statement continued.

PIAA officials said in the statement they believe Gov. Tom Wolf's recommendation to delay sports until January 1, 2021 "has a potential negative impact on the students' physical, social, emotional and mental health."

"These issues, along with the financial inability of many students to participate in any other form of non-school based athletic programs affect all students directly or indirectly," the statement said.

The PIAA said it wanted Wolf and agencies under him "to partner with us and work collaboratively to further discuss fall sports," and hoped for "insight and discussion" from state lawmakers.

The PIAA has developed health and safety plans for school sports, and the prospect of ending them for the coming months comes just as teams are starting to prepare for the fall season.

Some schools have already decided to forgo sports this fall, and some high school leagues had also previously delayed the start of their fall seasons.

Wolf released his recommendation on Thursday.

"The administration is providing this strong recommendation and not an order or mandate," Wolf's news release said. "As with deciding whether students should return to in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of the two this fall, school administrators and locally elected school boards should make decisions on sports."

Gov. Tom Wolf's administration is recommending all Kindergarten through 12th grade school and recreational sports should be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021.

The recommendation from Wolf's Health and Education departments applies to individual and team sports, both school-related and other recreational leagues, and to games and scrimmages. It does not apply to college and pro sports.

"The guidance is that we ought to avoid any congregate settings. And that means anything that brings people together is going to help that virus get us," Wolf, a Democrat, said Thursday morning in Harrisburg.

"And we ought to do everything we can to defeat that virus. So any time we get together for any reason, that's a problem, because it makes it easier for that virus to spread. So the guidance from us, recommendation, is that we don't do any sports until January first," he said.