PIAA committed to 'maximizing athletic opportunities' after winter sports season is paused

Spring Grove at Central York wrestling, Wednesday, December 19, 2018.
John A. Pavoncello photo

It took nearly 24 hours for the PIAA to respond to Gov. Tom Wolf's latest COVID-19 restrictions and when it did, not much of significance was said.

In response to Wolf's Thursday announcement that youth sports (including high school sports) will be paused until Jan. 4 as part of updated COVID-19 mitigation efforts across the state, the state's governing body for scholastic athletics in Pennsylvania put out a news release Friday afternoon. That release stated that the organization hopes that Wolf's efforts will help reduce the number of cases statewide. The PIAA also said it will continue to review suggestions from various professional education groups.

"PIAA is committed to maximizing the athletic opportunities for all student-athletes across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania," PIAA president Frank Majikes said in the release. "The Board will continue to meet and monitor this ever-changing pandemic and its implications on schools and their communities."

Starting Saturday, student-athletes were not allowed to practice or participate in games until Jan. 4, but games won't be possible on that first date. During Wednesday's PIAA board of directors meeting, a motion was approved that requires four days of practice for teams to play a game if practices are shut down for 14 days or more.

With the three-week pause on youth sports, schools will not be able to play games until Jan. 8, which cuts into what was already a shortened season.

Gov. Wolf pauses high school sports until Jan. 4 as part of COVID-19 mitigation efforts

The York-Adams League previously postponed its season one week to Dec. 18, canceled its league tournament, limited teams to 18 games and required all athletes besides swimmers to wear masks during competition.

The PIAA, for its part, has pushed back the state playoffs, which will only include district champions for team events. In addition, the number of qualifiers for the individual state wrestling and swimming championships has been markedly reduced.

Reach Rob Rose at rrose@yorkdispatch.com.