Sectional differences adding to the confusion over the high school sports situation

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 20 December 2020 at 9:39 am

Since mid March the Covid-19 Pandemic has certainly caused increasing frustration, uncertainty and confusion for high school athletes, coaches and athletic directors.

First the Pandemic wiped out the spring high school season. Then the fall slate was reduced as the so-called “High Risk” sports of football, volleyball and cheerleading were postponed until next spring.

And now the fate of the “High Risk” winter sports of basketball and wrestling are very much uncertain.

The confusion and uncertainty for athletes, coaches and athletic directors has been heightened by the differences in how neighboring sections are approaching the winter season.

Section V has already started the season for swimming, which is listed as a “low-moderate risk” sport. In fact, the neighboring Genesee Region League teams which have swim teams have already held regular swim meets, not “virtual meets”, but regular meets.

However,  the Executive Council of neighboring Section VI of which the Niagara-Orleans League schools are members, has voted to delay the start of practice for all winter sports until January 18. Earlier it had voted to delay it until January 4 but a vote last week backed it up two more weeks to January 18.

And unlike the G-R League the N-O League as of now is planning to hold “virtual” swim meets once the go ahead is given to begin practice which no doubt adds more confusion and frustration for athletes, coaches and athletic directors alike.

Officials of both Section VI and Section V along with area athletes and coaches are now anxiously awaiting a decision from Albany on when the “High Risk” sports of basketball land wrestling can begin.

It is a situation which has local athletic directors scratching their heads as to what direction the sports year is headed, a situation which certainly has been very fluid and changeable.

It will be interesting to see how long past the Christmas-New Years holiday break that such a decision is forthcoming as time to  get the winter sports season in before the so-called “Fall 2” season for football, volleyball and cheerleading is slated to begin on March 1 is getting short.