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Despite uncertainty, District 3 lays out revised postseason plans for fall sports

ROB ROSE
717-505-5418/@robrosesports
  • District 3 revealed its revised postseason plans for fall 2020 sports.
  • The district revealed the number of qualifiers and the playoff schedule.
  • All District 3 championship games are to be played on turf fields.
Northeastern and New Oxford battle in a District 3 Class 5-A playoff football game in 2019. The district announced its revised playoff plans for the 2020 season on Monday.

Although the status of the fall sports season is still very much unclear, District 3 has announced its potential plans for the 2020 high school playoffs.

During a Zoom meeting on Monday, the organization’s revised postseason picture was revealed. It included the number of teams that will be involved in each sport, the dates of the playoffs and a potential pay-per-view model for the live streaming of games.

It was estimated that the district would incur a $500,000 cost for the full 2020-2021 academic year if forced to operate with no revenue from in-person spectators. To make up for some of that cost, the district approved a plan where the higher-seeded team will host all district games and also take on the cost of expenses for officials and game managers.

As an added way to recoup some of the financial losses if no fans are allowed, it was mentioned that some schools could use streaming platforms that would charge fans to watch games or require a subscription. Each school will make individual decisions on which platform they want to use. More information could be released at the next District 3 meeting scheduled for Aug. 24.

Additionally, all championship games are to be played on turf fields. If the higher-seeded team does not have a turf field, District 3 will facilitate and pay for procuring a proper venue for the contest.

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If a team has a member who tests positive for COVID-19 during the district playoffs, their next opponent will advance to the next round of playoffs.

To fit the district playoffs in between the delayed regular seasons and the district-champion-only PIAA state playoff plan, District 3 will have a limited number of teams in the postseason this year.

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Of its 92 football teams, 20 will qualifying for districts. Boys’ and girls’ soccer will have 24 teams each from a combined 212 squads qualifying. In other sports, field hockey will have 24 of 89 teams qualifying; girls’ volleyball will have 24 of its 100 teams qualifying; and girls’ tennis will have eight of its 84 teams qualifying.

Potential playoff schedule: For football playoffs, the potential schedule is: 

  • 1-A, 2-A: two teams qualifying, championship games only, to be played Oct. 30/31.
  • 3-A, 6-A: four teams qualifying, semifinals on Oct. 30/31, and championships on Nov. 6/7.
  • 4-A, 5-A: four teams qualifying, semifinals on Nov. 6-7, and championships on Nov. 13-14.

The final football power rankings will be announced on Oct. 26. That means for the 4-A and 5-A football teams, their final Oct. 31 regular-season contests will have no affect on their postseason position.

Soccer quarterfinals would begin on Nov. 4, with the semifinals on Nov. 7 and championships on Nov. 10. Golf championships would be Oct. 9/10.

PIAA delays start of fall sports season, seeks negotiations with Wolf

The tentative plan for cross country is to take the top two teams from each league’s championship run and the top 10 individual runners from Class 2-A and 3-A, while the plan for 1-A was to have each team compete with fewer athletes on each of those squads.

For teams that don’t qualify for district playoffs, schools could continue to schedule games while the postseason tournament is being played.

Milton Hershey is the lone District 3 member to officially opt out of a fall season. It was mentioned during the meeting that Reading also plans to opt out, but that has not been confirmed yet.

The postseason plans are likely to be officially approved at the next District 3 meeting on Aug. 24, but that could change based on decisions by the PIAA and Gov. Tom Wolf.

The district's playoff picture is based on the premise that there are interscholastic sports this fall. Currently, the PIAA has delayed the start of the fall season until Aug. 24, despite the fact that Wolf strongly recently recommended that no sports be played until Jan. 1. The York-Adams League has postponed the beginning of official fall sports practices into early September. 

The Philadelphia Public League on Monday suspended all interscholastic athletic competition until Jan. 1 in accordance Wolf's recommendations.

The PIAA plans to consult Wolf and various health officials before its next meeting on Aug. 21 to determine if the fall season will be played as scheduled, canceled or postponed until spring 2021.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.