PIAA officially makes call to cancel remainder of winter and spring sports seasons

Central York girls' basketball coach Scott Wisner talks to his team earlier this season. The Panthers had advanced to the PIAA Class 6-A quarterfinals. Their season, however, will not be resumed because of the coronavirus pandemic, ending their opportunity to win a state championship.
  • The PIAA has decided that the 2019-2020 prep sports seasons will not be resumed.
  • The state basketball championships had reached the quarterfinal round.
  • The Class 2-A state swimming championships had not yet started.
  • The only spring sport to get in any events was boys' tennis.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association has made it official.

The 2019-2020 Pennsylvania high school sports season will not be resumed.

The governing body of high school sports in the state made the final decision on Thursday afternoon.

The decision means the state basketball championships will not be concluded and the Class 2-A state swim meet will not be held. Both of the winter championships were put on hold on March 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The PIAA's decision also means that nearly the entire spring sports season will be wiped out. The only spring sport that had started before the pandemic forced the scholastic sports shutdown on March 12 was boys' tennis.

The PIAA had said all along that it would follow guidance from the governor's office and the Department of Health and the Department of Education when making the final call on the possible resumption of athletic activity.

Thursday morning, Gov. Tom Wolf announced that the state's schools would remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Once Wolf shuttered schools for the rest of the academic year, the PIAA's decision to cancel the remaining winter championships and the spring sports season was, in large part, made for the organization.

The only surprise may have been that it took the PIAA several hours after Wolf's announcement to issue a news release officially canceling the seasons. 

“Today’s decision by the PIAA Board of Directors was difficult for everyone. Their thoughts remain on the thousands of student-athletes, coaches, officials and family members affected by this decision,” said PIAA executive director Robert A. Lombardi in a news release. “However, the Board’s position reflects a steadfast priority of keeping our student-athletes, officials and member schools’ staffs and their communities safe.

"... We had maintained hope for a continuation of our Winter Championships and an abbreviated Spring season to help bring a sense of normalcy to our communities. As we navigate through this difficult time we need to remember the lessons that interscholastic athletics has taught us: cooperation, patience, sacrifice, responsibility, respect and perseverance.”

At present, the PIAA said 17 other state high school associations have ended their sports seasons in similar fashion.

The PIAA, in the statement, said it remained hopeful that summer activities will be able to commence July 1, but said it is still too early to reach any decisions or offer guidance at this time.

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Wolf, on Wednesday, said that it’s too far out to contemplate the fate of fall athletics.

“I think it’s too early to call what happens in the fall,” he said, when presented with President Donald Trump’s objective to have pro leagues running by that time.

Locally, four basketball teams (New Oxford boys, Central York girls, Gettysburg girls and Delone Catholic girls) were still active in the state bracket, with all four teams in the quarterfinals of their respective classes. 

The athlete most impacted by the cancellation of the 2-A swim championships is likely Susquehannock's Logan McFadden, who was considered a strong gold-medal contender in multiple events.

Reach Steve Heiser at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.