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Neighboring states delay fall sports, but PIAA says 'our folks don't want that'

CHRIS HARLAN
(Greensburg) Tribune-Review (TNS)
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Pennsylvania is surrounded on three sides by states that already have delayed the start of fall sports, a list New York joined late this week.

But the PIAA isn’t taking cues from its neighbors.

“We’re not following Maryland. We certainly are not following New Jersey,” PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said Wednesday, when the PIAA board of directors met online and made no changes to the fall sports schedule. “Those state associations are doing what their membership schools want. That’s what they want.

“Our folks don’t want that.”

A day after the PIAA stood firm, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association decided to postpone its fall sports until Sept. 21 and canceled all regional and state championships. The NYSPHSAA also encouraged geographic scheduling for the regular season.

In Pennsylvania, heat acclimitization for football starts Aug. 10.

Practices for all sports begin Aug. 17.

“Our folks have told our board members … we want as much as you possibly can now,” Lombardi said. “We don’t want to be the PSAC. We don’t want to be the ACC or the NAIA or the jucos or Maryland or Virginia or New Mexico. All of those states have other (needs). We want to do what’s best for our kids in Pennsylvania with the best and current information that we have, at the latest possible date, to save as much activity as we possibly can.”

Here’s a look at actions Pennsylvania’s other neighbors have taken:

Ohio

Like the PIAA, the Ohio High School Athletic Association hasn’t deviated from its original fall sports schedule.

Practices start Aug. 1.

However, when the time comes for the regular season to start, only “low-contact sports” golf, tennis and volleyball are already cleared to hold contests this fall, under Gov. Mike DeWine’s restrictions. Cross country, field hockey, soccer and football can practice but can’t compete with other schools until cleared by DeWine.

New York

Along with delaying the start of fall sports, the NYSPHSAA revealed a potential condensed schedule, in case fall sports can’t be played as now planned. Winter sports season would run from Jan. 4 to March 13, followed by fall sports (March 1-May 8) and spring sports (April 5-June 12).

Each condensed season would last 10 weeks.

Maryland

Maryland has several state athletic associations. Two that oversee private schools — The Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland — announced Friday that fall practices for their schools won’t start until at least Sept. 1.

On July 7, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association released a “Roadmap for the Return of Interscholastic Athletics and Activities,” allowing schools to resume offseason workouts.

New Jersey

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association delayed football practice from Aug. 3 to Aug. 14 and eliminated Week Zero from the schedule. Girls tennis can hold its first regular-season matches Sept. 28. All other sports including football begin their seasons Oct. 1 or 2.

West Virginia

The first day of fall sports practice was delayed from Aug. 3 to Aug. 17 by the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission. As a result, the regular season also was delayed.

Golf starts its schedule Aug. 24. All other sports are scheduled to begin play Sept. 2 or 3.

Delaware

The Delaware Interscholastic Athletic Association had discussed moving football to the spring but wouldn’t do so without neighboring states also making the switch, according to the State Capital Daily.

Fall practices start Aug. 17 with games on Sept. 4.

However, football would be excluded without Gov. John Carney’s approval.