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Local Sports

PIAA Moving Forward with Fall Sports – But NO FANS



The PIAA plans to move forward, as scheduled, with Fall sports. However, no fans will be allowed to attend.

On Wednesday, the organization in charge of high school athletics in Pennsylvania decided to host competitions in Fall sports. PIAA does allow for some flexibility for schools based on an individual district’s plans.

“PIAA is committed to maximizing the athletic opportunities for students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In addressing the COVID-19 crisis and how it has affected the 67 counties differently, PIAA understands the flexibility needed by school districts to make localized measured decisions, rather than a “one size fits all” approach in addressing interscholastic athletics,” PIAA says in a statement.

PIAA Moves Forward with Fall Sports as Scheduled

PIAA outlined 3 different starts for Fall sports following its Board of Directors meeting on July 29: a Regular Start, an Alternate Start, and a Hybrid Start.

Here are details on each start:

Regular Start

Under this plan, Fall sports will continue as previously scheduled. Here are the important dates to remember for the Regular Start:

  • Aug. 10: Heat acclimatization starts
  • Aug. 17: First practice
  • Aug. 20: First date for golf matches
  • Aug. 24: First date for girls’ tennis matches
  • Aug. 28: Week 0 for football
  • Sept. 4: First date for games and matches in the following sports: Cross-country, girls’ volleyball, field hockey, soccer, water polo

Alternate Start

The Alternate Start proposed by the PIAA pushes back the start of seasons a few weeks. Here are the important dates to remember:

  • Aug. 10: Heat acclimatization starts
  • Aug. 17: No practice can start before this date
  • Sept. 14: First games for the following sports: Golf, girls’ tennis, cross-country, girls’ volleyball, field hockey, soccer, water polo
  • Sept. 18: First games for football

Under the Alternate Start, each sport (except golf and girls’ tennis) must have 3 weeks of pre-season activity. Golf’s pre-season need only be 3 days and 1 week for girls’ tennis.

Hybrid Start

Here’s the muddled language issued by the PIAA for a Hybrid Start to the Fall sports season:

As part of an alternative schedule, competition for fall sports should begin no later than Monday, October 5 or may be later with a request to the respective District Committee. Any combination of the established start dates or the alternative schedule must comply with the established pre-season practice guidelines and may be utilized to accommodate the needs of each local school, community, and sport. These alternative plans can be varied from sport to sport.

PIAA Safety Protocol for Fall Sports 2020 Season

The safety measures PIAA stresses for Fall sports to continue are pretty common-sense policies.

If players and coaches are feeling sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or have a body temperature at 100.4 degrees or higher, they should stay home. And, of course, all equipment and facilities should be cleaned regularly.

Players, coaches, and staff are required to wear face masks or coverings if they’re not practicing or competing. They need to maintain safe social distance from each other, too. The PIAA says there should be no “hugging, high fives, shaking hands, or fist bumps” during Fall sports competitions.

For guidance on each sport in the Fall 2020 season, check out the full document at the bottom of this article.

No Fans at PIAA Games in Fall 2020

As part of that safety protocol, only student-athletes, coaches, officials, the media, and school staff may attend games. That could change, but don’t expect it to change before the start of the Fall sports season.

That part of Wednesday’s announcement from PIAA got the public a little worked up.

On July 30, after loud public outcry over the decision to bar spectators, PIAA issued a statement to basically say: Don’t blame us; it’s not our call.

“This is not a PIAA decision. PIAA is following the sports guidance put out by the Wolf Administration,” PIAA says.

Safety Protocol for Fall Sports 2020 (from PIAA)

Here’s the full document released by PIAA on safety guidance for each Fall 2020 sport:

Return_to_Competition PIAA fall sports 2020


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  1. David F. Bradley, Sr.

    July 30, 2020 at 9:27 pm

    On Wednesday, the organization in charge of high school athletics in Pennsylvania decided to host competitions in Fall sports.(THAT’S A STRETCH – PIAA is a private corporation, apparently it has ZERO legal authority. Pull their 990EZ IRS public documents of private corporations.)

    Capriciously stated, no fans but school staff and media are permitted?

    Sounds like every parent needs to start a blog of their child’s progress. Print themselves a media press pass, and document the local hero’s early years. #StillinAmerica

    • Canary Commenter

      July 30, 2020 at 9:51 pm

      Sorry, lost us here. How should it be worded?

      • Tweener

        July 31, 2020 at 9:36 am

        I think we need a consistent message for the good of all involved in education.Boards are having zoom meetings for safety advocating that students could return for 2 days a week,while allowing sports teams to practice and play 6 days a week? We need more clarity in what occurs if there are positive tests.If a high school student tests positive,does the population have to quarantine for 14 days???Because,right now,if a football player tests positive-the team must quarantine for 14 days. The last thing we need right now are mixed messages.
        Thanks for keeping up with your reporting.

  2. Tweener

    August 2, 2020 at 11:36 am

    The toughest hurdle is getting high school kids to comply with rules when away from their coaches.Adult millionaires playing major league baseball are failing and putting teammates and staff at risk.Sports person my whole life but worried sick about allowing sports.Not an alarmist but concerned.

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