District 3 to survey central Pennsylvania member schools about starting fall sports

The (Carlisle) Sentinel (TNS)
District 3

District 3 intends to ask its member schools about their preference for starting fall sports.

That's according to Cedar Cliff athletic director John Kosydar on Thursday. Big Spring AD Joe Sinkovich confirmed the news Thursday night.

District 3 includes central Pennsylvania, including all 23 schools in the York-Adams League.

The PIAA approved a series of measures during Wednesday's board of directors meeting. Among them, the PIAA is allowing schools around the state to elect to start their fall sports seasons as late as Oct. 5 under two different plans.

Kosydar said Thursday via text the survey is likely to be sent out in the "the next day or two" and is "surveying its membership for their thoughts on starting fall sports."

"I have ongoing conversations with Red Land AD [Daniel Hagerman] since we are in same district," Kosydar said. Red Land is located in northern York County.

"Kind of looking at the options for the fall season a little bit and just trying to see what everyone's thoughts are, how everyone feels," Sinkovich said.

Under the PIAA's alternate schedule plan, schools could choose to start their fall sports seasons Sept. 14 for football and Sept. 18 for all other sports. In the hybrid format, schools could start their regular seasons no later than Oct. 5 if approved by the school's district committee — in this case that would be District 3.

If a school does not delay the start, golf's regular season begins Aug. 20, girls' tennis begins Aug. 24, football kicks off Aug. 28 and soccer, field hockey, girls' volleyball and cross country start up Sept. 4.

Dominoes falling across the state: It took barely 24 hours for the dominoes to begin falling in other corners of the state. Thursday afternoon, Norristown Area School District announced it would ask its school board to vote to cancel fall sports competition this year, with the option to revisit the matter if the PIAA pushes fall sports to a later date. PIAA executive director Dr. Robert Lombardi has repeatedly said moving fall sports to the spring is not tenable.

Then Friday, the WPIAL (District 7) notified school administrators that football season won’t start until Sept. 10, the regular season will be reduced to seven games and the playoffs will likely look different. Season openers for cross country, soccer, field hockey and girls volleyball were delayed until Sept. 14. Only golf and girls tennis can start sooner, on Aug. 24.

The original WPIAL schedule had Week Zero football games Aug. 28. Now, WPIAL football teams won’t play until after Labor Day. In the meantime, WPIAL teams can practice. Heat acclimatization for football begins Aug. 10, as originally scheduled. Likewise, all fall sports are allowed to start practice Aug. 17.

Also Thursday night, The Morning Call reported the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, consisting of 18 schools in District 11, voted that day to delay fall sports. The EPC will decide Tuesday when the seasons will start.

All sports don't have to be delayed: The guidelines for delaying fall sports on a school-by-school basis do not say a school has to delay all sports. It appears to allow schools to delay one sport, some sports or all sports if they so choose. Kosydar said that was his understanding as well.

Kosydar did not have a date for when the decision would be made by District 3, and it's too soon to say what schools or District 3 would ultimately choose to do. Sinkovich wasn't sure how District 3 ADs would vote, but he feels it might be best for the district to decide together rather than let schools decide individually and then try to fit schedules together.

"I think it's difficult for everyone to make their own decision, because in the end if everyone's not on the same page, how is that going to look in the fall," Sinkovich said.

The PIAA is opting to allow schools, and its 12 districts, to decide for themselves if they wish to start the season later. The state's governing body did not choose to make the decision for its membership, despite multiple college conferences in the state canceling fall sports or moving them to the spring and multiple neighboring state high school associations delaying fall sports several weeks already.

No fans: The PIAA also released a clarification on Thursday afternoon after receiving “many inquiries” regarding the fate of spectators at fall high school events.

At this point, fans will not be permitted, a decision that has angered many, most especially parents of athletes.

The organization pointed to Gov. Tom Wolf’s office in its statement.

“This is not a PIAA decision. PIAA is following the sports guidance put out by the Wolf Administration,” the release states.