On Thursday, the Schuylkill League voted 14-4 to move forward with high school Fall sports as scheduled.
The decision came soon after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf dropped a bombshell on the state when he said he and the state Health Dept. “strongly recommend” not having sports until Jan. 1, 2021. Just after saying that, Wolf scurried out of a press briefing and took no further questions.
After Wolf made his latest statement on the situation, the PIAA said they’d continue a discussion they were having on the subject of Fall sports. They plan to meet on Friday and deliver a final recommendation for the Fall high school sports season.
Schuylkill League Votes to Move Forward with Fall High School Sports
That left it up to local officials to make decisions that could or could not get wiped out in a day.
Regardless of what state officials said, an overwhelming majority of local schools said they want to play Fall sports and make every intention to start their seasons on time.
Steve Toth, president of the Schuylkill League, released a statement via social media to explain the vote.
“Today the Schuylkill League voted to move forward with our Fall season,” Toth says. “It is extremely comforting to know the amount of caution and planning that took place in order for our league to make this decision. This decision to move forward with schedules comes with a great amount of partnership from three specific groups of people: parents, coaches, and most importantly, student-athletes.”
Toth even mentioned the concept of a Schuylkill League “bubble” similar to what some pro sports – namely, the NHL, MLS, and NBA – are doing in order to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19.
“Each school needs all of these groups to work together in unison in order to create our very own Schuylkill League bubble,” Toth adds. “We request that each individual person in these three groups meets the CDC requirements and recommendations with fidelity, both to ensure that the competitions start and finish throughout the end of our season.”
He offered the following recommendations to student-athletes and their families to, what he hopes, prevent an outbreak of the virus that could hamper the season, should it not get cancelled by the PIAA.
“Please reduce unnecessary travel trips. Hang out with people in your direct company and circle. Please continue to wash your hands and wear masks when appropriate,” Toth says. “Remember that it may only take one flare-up for our season to be placed in jeopardy.”
PIAA Reaction to Wolf’s Bombshell Statement
After Wolf said that high school sports shouldn’t start until Jan. 1, 2021, the PIAA released a statement that reads, in part: “We are tremendously disappointed in this decision. Our member schools have worked diligently to develop health and safety plans to allow students the safe return to interscholastic athletics.”
Toth echoed those sentiments on behalf of the Schuylkill League. He said, “We hope for a favorable decision and we hope that our student-athletes will be able to compete in their league schedules in our fall season.”
You can view Toth’s full statement below:
Schuylkill League Announcement pic.twitter.com/dVUuyrbJDY
— Schuylkill League (@SchLeague) August 6, 2020
We’re awaiting comments from the Schuylkill League on how individual schools voted on Thursday.