H.S. football season is moved to March

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 9 September 2020 at 8:22 pm

It will be springtime high school football and not the traditional fall gridiron campaign in New York State this school year.

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced this evening that the so-called “high risk” fall sports including football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading have been postponed until March 1, 2021,

“We had been hoping for a late fall season but we have to do what is best for the kids and their safety,” said Albion Athletic Director and Varsity Football Coach Adam Krenning.  “I know it will break a lot of their hearts but we’ll get through it”.

Practice for football, volleyball and cheerleading can now begin on March 1 with the start of the regular spring season (for baseball, softball, lacrosse, track and tennis) now slated to begin on April 19.

“It will be very, very challenging for small schools like ours both for the student/athletes and the coaches who are involved in more than one sport,” said Krenning.

“I know it is very disappointing for athletes and coaches who were really looking forward to getting back on the field.,” said Section VI Football Chairman Ken Stoldt.  “At this point we need to focus on the positives.  A lot of the uncertainty should be cleared up regarding the pandemic and the protocols we are required to follow.  Hopefully we will have fans at our games by then with no restrictions.  If all goes well we can now get preseason workouts in, and in general, we will all have time to plan.  I’m certain our football community can pull together to make the best of this and get our kids a rewarding experience this spring.”

The remainder of the “low risk” fall sports including boys and girls soccer, field hockey, golf and cross-country can begin practice on September 21 as was previously announced with games to begin after the required number of practices have been completed.

The NYSPHSAA’s press release on the announcement of the postponement of football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading until next March is as follows.

LATHAM – “The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced today that football, volleyball and competitive cheer fall seasons will be postponed until March 1, 2021 to address membership concerns associated with high-risk fall sports.  The decision was rendered by the elected NYSPHSAA officers late this afternoon. Low and moderate risk fall sports, meanwhile, are still authorized to begin practices on September 21, 2020 as previously announced.

“We’ve spent two days speaking with nearly 500 athletic directors across the state and it’s clear that administering high-risk fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge for our member schools,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director. “These are unprecedented times and unfortunately, difficult decisions will have to be made to address this ongoing crisis. We continue to stay committed to providing support to our member schools and quality participation experiences for the students we serve.”

The revised season for football, volleyball and fall competitive cheer will be known as “Fall Sports Season II” and may officially begin practices on March 1, 2021.

As a result of fall high-risk sports being moved, the start date for the spring sports season has been adjusted to April 19, 2021.  The first official practice for spring sports will now be April 19, 2021 (the original start date was March 15).

“The NYSPHSAA officers have determined it would be unrealistic to host football, volleyball and competitive cheer seasons this fall,” said Julie Bergman, NYSPHSAA President. “This continues to be the most challenging situation educators have ever addressed.  I, along with my fellow officers, believe the participation experiences for football, volleyball and competitive cheer athletes will be more beneficial in the spring than in the fall.”

Low and moderate risk fall sports practices are still scheduled to begin on September 21st for those schools and sections who have determined it feasible to host interscholastic athletics at this time.  Regular season games can begin for low and moderate risk fall sports (girls tennis, cross country, girls swimming/diving, boys soccer, girls soccer, field hockey) once student-athletes have participated in the required number of practices as per NYSPHSAA bylaws.”