NYSPHSAA announces a new start date for “High Risk” winter sports

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 17 November 2020 at 11:42 am

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) this morning announced that the start for “High Risk” winter sports including basketball, wrestling, competitive cheerleading and ice hockey has been moved back to January 4, 2021.

The NYSPHSAA release added that until authorization is granted by state officials, NYSPHSAA member schools are not permitted to participate in sports determined to be high risk by the New York State Department of Health. (NYSDOH).

Low and moderate risk winter sports which includes swimming, will be permitted to begin on November 30th as previously determined by NYSPHSAA.

“The NYSPHSAA membership has expressed concerns pertaining to the increase in infection rates,” said  NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas. “Minimizing risk and exposure to COVID-19 is a top priority of the Association. We continue to make these types of decisions based upon readily available information and communication with state officials.”

The release adds that low and moderate risk winter sports practices are still on schedule to begin on November 30th for those schools and sections who have determined it feasible to host interscholastic athletics at that time. Regular season games/contests can begin for low and moderate sports  once student-athletes have participated in the required number of practices.

“NYSPHSAA’s leadership recognizes the numerous challenges interscholastic programs are experiencing and the obstacles associated with resuming high risk sports,” said NYSPHSAA President Julie Bergman. “While it is certainly the goal of the Association to provide all students with the ability to participate in interscholastic athletics we must remain steadfast in our decisions to ensure the safety of our athletes is our focus.”

The release concludes by stating that “at this time all winter NYSPHSAA State Championship events remain as scheduled.”