The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has decided to delay beginning the fall sports season for two weeks. The move, which during a meeting of the Board of Directors Friday in Mechanicsburg, followed Thursday’s recommendation by Gov. Tom Wolf to table interscholastic and recreational sports until Jan. 1, 2021.
During the hiatus, the PIAA will try to get some input on how to start the fall sports season safely for schools throughout the state.
“Consistent with the advice of the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, PIAA continues to believe it can safely sponsor fall sports,” according to a PIAA statement. “On Aug. 21st the Board will reconvene. Between now and then, voluntary workouts, per the Governor’s Guidance for All Sports, and with local approval, may continue. Mandatory fall sports activities are paused for the two week period. PIAA remains committed to providing a season for each sport during the 2020-21 school year.”
The Philadelphia Catholic League’s Board of Directors met last week and voted to push back the beginning of the fall sports season due to COVID-19 concerns and the most recent Return To Competition Guidelines issued by the PIAA on July 29.
Football Heat Acclimation will start Monday, Aug. 31 with season opening games set for Sept. 18-19. Strength and conditioning workouts for football student-athletes will continue until Friday, Aug. 14.
For student-athletes participating in soccer, girls’ volleyball, field hockey, cross country, golf and girls’ tennis, practices will begin on Monday, Sept. 14, and games will start on Oct. 2-3. Strength and conditioning workouts for student-athletes competing in fall sports
Jake Serfass, Father Judge athletic director and chair of the Philadelphia Catholic League Board of Directors, is evaluating the information.
“I guess we’re trying to figure out from our end as athletic directors,” Serfass said. “We’re kind of in limbo. We really don’t know what to do honestly. I know we’re ready to go and move forward and do things.
“We’re just trying to figure it out and make it fair with our student athletes. We’re telling them we’re going until I guess we hear something definitive of whether or not we’re going to have sports. It’s tough because you’re telling them you’re going to go forward with it, which we are until we get something that we’re not. Everything goes back and forth. It’s tough. It’s tough on the student athletes.”
Serfass feels the health and safety of everyone is the most important part of having a successful fall sports season.
“We want to move forward, but we want to make sure everyone is safe,” Serfass said. “That’s the biggest concern honestly. If we can do things correctly, safely to make sure that we have a season. If that can’t be done, then there’s no reason to try to jeopardize anyone whether it’s officials, coaches, our student-athletes their health whether it be immediate or down the road with the different side effects the coronavirus might have.”
The Philadelphia Public League has not made a decision regarding its fall sports season.