High-risk sports like football will have to wait to compete until March of 2021.

High-risk sports like football will have to wait to compete until March of 2021.

 

Bill Bryant, Executive Director of the Interscholastic Athletic Conference (IAC), issued a press release on Sept. 12 announcing that the conference’s athletic directors voted on Sept. 11 to postpone the upcoming fall season to March 2021.

The decision to suspend the season means the IAC will run a single condensed season of all three athletic seasons, as established by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), this upcoming spring.

“During these unprecedented times with COVID impacting our lives in many ways, one group dealing with that impact are our student athletes,” Bryant said in the release. “It is therefore incredibly difficult to make changes to traditional athletic schedules in our schools. But we are in the midst of a pandemic and the most important consideration when making any decision, is the safety of our young people.”

With the condensed sports season model, the winter season would begin in January 2021 – although there is still a chance that that season could begin on Nov. 30, 2020, according to the press release – the fall season would start in March and the spring season would take place in April. (This includes not only games, but also practices.) Specific dates for when each season would begin will be determined by NYSPHSAA.

On Sept. 11, NYSPHSAA released updates to its Return to Interscholastic Athletics guidance, which included information on the newly approved “Fall Sports Season II.” The association voted to move the high-risk sports seasons of competitive cheerleading, football and volleyball to March 1, 2021 to compete in an additional fall season (i.e. “Fall Sports Season II”) that spring. No regional or state championships will be held in the second fall season.

Individual sections will determine the end date of the additional fall season. (NYSPHSAA recommends the end date be May 1.) Sections can also decide to move other fall sports, aside from the high-risk ones, to the additional fall season. Currently, Section IV, which the IAC is a membering league of, has yet to make a formal announcement regarding whether or not the fall sports season will be postponed to a later date.

According to NYSPHSAA’s guidance, state officials will reevaluate the high-risk sport seasons on Dec. 31 to decide the appropriate health and safety protocols time “based on public health and safety metrics and recommendations” of the New York State Department of Health at the time. NYSPHSAA also waived the “Seven Consecutive Day Rule,” which requires teams to not to practice or play on seven consecutive days, for the additional fall season.

The Dryden, Groton, Lansing, Trumansburg, Candor, Newfield and Spencer-Van Etten Central School Districts are all members of the IAC. The South Seneca Central School District is a member of the Finger Lakes High School Athletic Association (FLHSAA), which is a part of Section V. Neither the FLHSAA or Section V have made a formal announcement regarding the fall season, though South Seneca has announced that it will be offering the following low-risk sports for the upcoming fall season starting on Sept. 21: golf, cross country and boys and girls soccer.

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