PIAA hopes that competition form will resolve any mask confusion during postseason

Erie Times-News (TNS)
Central York's Steven Betancur drives against pressure from Red Lion's AJ Virata during action at Red Lion Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. Red Lion won the game 58-42. Bill Kalina photo

The PIAA is hoping to resolve any confusion with the mask rule before the playoffs with a competition form that was approved Wednesday at its latest Board of Directors meeting.

In addition to informing competitors of COVID-19 conditions, the form has an area for schools to list any athletes that are exempt from wearing a mask during competition.

The form can be signed by an athletic trainer, athletic director or principal.

The form will not be required during district playoffs, but the PIAA will utilize it during interdistrict play. The PIAA also approved all district use of the form if they wish during district playoffs.

“It provides communication between schools so they know who has the exception and that they have prescreened all of their athletes,” said PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi. “We used it in the fall and it worked quite well. It gave us the most up to date information for the event. It's current information that helps communication.”

Lombardi also said that if teams aren't wearing masks properly it will be brought to the attention of the coach then the game manager, and if teams still don't comply, the team and school could face sanctions after the game. He said that there likely will not be any in-game penalties for not properly wearing masks.

PIAA wrestling update: The wrestling postseason schedule was clarified on Wednesday. The individual wrestling regionals are set for Feb. 27 followed by super regionals on March 6 and the championships on March 12 for 2A and March 13 for 3A.

The team tournament will start March 22 with the first round and the quarterfinals on March 24. The semifinals and championships will take place March 27 at Cumberland Valley High School and not the Giant Center in Hershey.

Matchups for the Class 3-A team tournament were also adjusted. Cathedral Prep will host the District 8 champion in the first round March 22 with the winner traveling to the WPIAL champion on March 24.

Giant Center in Hershey: The Giant Center is set to host the individual wrestling championships and the PIAA basketball championships. The staff gave the PIAA a capacity limit of 500 for both events, which includes athletes, coaches, staff and game workers.

For wrestling, the PIAA is planning on giving each wrestler two tickets to get parents into the center first. If there are any tickets left over, they will go to the schools.

For basketball, tickets will be split between the two schools evenly and the center will be cleared between each game for cleaning. No doubleheader tickets will be sold.

The PIAA also approved an allotment of 25 people for each basketball team during the postseason, including the team, coaches, athletic trainers, etc.

Spring sports: The first day of spring sports practice is rapidly approaching on March 8. The PIAA voted to reduce the number of required preseason practices from 15 to 10 in case schools want to wait to practice but still start the season on time.

Teams will still need five practices to play a scrimmage, but they will need just 10 to play a regular-season game.