Lancaster-Lebanon League votes to push back start of nearly all fall sports


Another District 3 domino has fallen.

Wednesday morning, the Lancaster-Lebanon League voted 19-6 to push back the start date of most fall sports.

Hempfield, Ephrata, Elco, Northern Lebanon, Lancaster Catholic and Cedar Crest voted to start on time.

The official schedules for L-L teams are expected to be sorted out Thursday by the league's athletic directors.

Unofficially, the L-L League fall events are expected to begin the week of Sept. 21, while football games will likely start the weekend of Sept. 25, although that could get pushed up to Sept. 18. The fall season will be shortened. Most official fall sports practices are expected to start Sept. 4.

The L-L decision to delay the fall seasons will almost certainly have an impact on a number of York-Adams League teams, which were scheduled to play L-L teams in nonconference action from late August through mid-September in various sports.

Golf, however, which is not held on school property and involves almost no physical contact, got L-L approval to start on Aug. 17.

The L-L decision was made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, the Harrisburg-based Mid-Penn Conference announced it was delaying the start of fall sports practices to Sept. 4. The MPC was the first District 3 conference to announce any sort of delay. It has now been joined by the L-L League.

The Mid-Penn said more information will be made available on its delay after Thursday's conference athletic directors meeting.

The Y-A League, which is also located within the District 3 boundaries, has not yet made a decision on a possible delay for fall sports. There was discussion about the issue at a league meeting on Monday, with Sept. 11 discussed as a possible Y-A start date. Another Y-A League meeting is set for Thursday. A decision from the league could come at that point.

Last week, the PIAA voted to allow the start of the fall sports season on time and on schedule. Under that vote, teams could start official fall sports practices on Aug. 17. Individual leagues and school districts, however, are free to make their own determinations about when to start the fall seasons.

Several other conferences in Pennsylvania have also announced delays, including the Inter-Academic Athletic League in suburban Philadelphia, the Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and and the East Penn Conference.

Some individual schools have also made their own decisions. Monday, the Uniontown Area School District in western Pennsylvania voted 9-0 that the football and boys' and girls' soccer seasons should be canceled. Cross country, golf and girls' volleyball are permitted, for now, by Uniontown.

Last week, the Norristown Area School District in suburban Philadelphia became the first in the state to completely suspend high school sports for the fall.

Monday, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said he didn't see how schools that were going to a completely virtual learning model this fall could also allow for fall contact sports to be played.

Also on Monday, the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association announced it is postponing the fall and winter high school sports seasons in 2020.

Several other states bordering Pennsylvania, such as New York, New Jersey and West Virginia, have already announced delays to their fall seasons.

A District 3 virtual committee meeting is set for 9 a.m. Monday, Aug. 10.

Reach Steve Heiser at