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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Sports > General

Fall sports prep continues

Football and volleyball limited to practice only

Sep 3, 2020

By Joseph Abraham - co-editor

Liberty Varsity Football Coach Joe Franke discussing strategy with his 2019 squad during a game against Monticello.
NEW YORK STATE -- The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), individual sports sections and school districts across the state continue to evaluate the possibility of a fall sports season.
The NYSPHSAA COVID-19 Task Force met on Monday for the fifth time and examined New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) guidance which provided recommendations for the fall interscholastic athletic season. They are developing a comprehensive document with guidance for member schools to utilize as they prepare for the return of interscholastic athletics this fall. The anticipated release date of the return to interscholastic athletics document is today, September 4.
This comes after the recent decision by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo allowing a fall sports season to begin on September 21. Governor Cuomo will permit low and moderate risk sports (i.
e. girls tennis, cross country and soccer) to have competitions this fall, while high risk fall sports (i.e. football and volleyball) will be prohibited from having any games or contests until authorization is granted from New York State officials on or before December 31. While they cannot have games, football and volleyball teams will be allowed to practice.
As per the NYSPHSAA officers decision, low and moderate risk sports will be restricted to playing games in their own league and/or section until October 19.
On Monday, the NYSPHSAA officers voted to delay the start of the winter sports season from November 16 to November 30 to give schools and sections more time to complete the fall athletic season. The officers also voted to approve revising the number of required practices for fall sport student-athletes (12 practices for football and 10 for all other fall sports). The NYSPHSAA officers decision also includes waiving the seven consecutive day rule starting on October 12, continuing to consider the high-risk sports of football and volleyball as fall sports, and restricting games for low and moderate risk sports to compete within their league and/or section until October 19.
“I am encouraged by the work of our association and state officials to provide the opportunity for schools to offer interscholastic athletics for students this fall,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “Unfortunately all sports will look different and participation will not be the same as it was a year ago, but students will have the chance to represent their school, be around their friends and coaches, and experience a sense of normalcy this fall. It is critical that student-athletes be leaders in their schools and communities and strictly abide by COVID-19 safety protocols.”
With regional differences, schools and areas will continue to be impacted differently by the COVID-19 crisis. At the discretion of the NYSPHSAA officers, if the fall sports seasons are interrupted or impacted by the COVID-19 crisis (i.e. state official guidance, school closings, etc.), then a condensed seasons plan could still be implemented. That decision will be made by the NYSPHSAA officers with the information available at that time.
All Sullivan County schools are in Section 9. Even though fall sports have been permitted, it is the decision of the section and local school districts as to whether or not they will host sports this fall.
For example, the Fallsburg Central School District is entirely remote learning for the first marking period. According to Fallsburg CSD Director of Athletics Sue Lendzian, “At this time, fall athletics will not be operating in any capacity but do look forward to seeing the Fallsburg Comets back in action soon!”

Football and Volleyball
High risk fall sports like football and volleyball, at this time, will remain in the fall season. As mentioned earlier those sports are currently limited to practice only beginning September 21. In a media Zoom call earlier this week, Dr. Zayas said that if anything changes that decision and determination would be made by state officials. NYSPHSAA does not have the authority to supersede any decisions made by state officials.
He was also asked about the possibility of football and volleyball moving to the spring season.
“Hypothetically and I think the possibility is there that soccer, field hockey, girls tennis, girls swimming, cross country have a season this fall, and as per the guidance provided, football and volleyball teams practice and don't get the opportunity to participate in a game, that would probably conclude their season,” said Zayas, “But then again so much is dependent on the decision of the officers and any additional guidance we receive as a state association. But ultimately if football and volleyball want to be moved to the spring season by individual sections, they have the ability to do that, and I do believe some sections are considering that move.”
In the meantime, local football coaches have been in contact with their players and encouraging them to stay conditioned.
“We are remaining hopeful that we can return safely and get back onto the field,” said Liberty Varsity Football Coach Joe Franke. “We will be prepared to play whenever that may be. I'm telling the players that have been reaching out to me about the season to stay positive and remain active to be prepared when we are cleared to play.”
On the possibility of football in the spring, Fallsburg Varsity Football Coach Dominick Scanna said, “We want to play, if that's in the spring, that will be a bit different, but as long as we're playing we'll be happy. Our guys have been doing virtual workouts since mid-March. With us as coaches, we love football, but our first priority is the health and safety of our players.”

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