The PIAA just released its highly-anticipated statement on Fall high school sports in 2020.
In it, the organization really doesn’t make much of a decision one way or another on moving forward with Fall sports. PIAA did, however, put a “pause” for 2 weeks on any mandated activities like practices for sports.
Its statement comes about 24 hours after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf dropped a bombshell during a press conference on Thursday in which he made a “recommendation” that no sports of any kind – except college and professional – be held in the state until Jan. 1, 2021.
PIAA Updated Statement on Fall High School Sports in Pennsylvania for 2020
The PIAA said it would review his statement from Thursday at an emergency Board of Directors meeting on Friday. That meeting just concluded and we fear the statement they just released, in which they hope for the near-impossible, will only serve to confuse parents and student-athletes even more.
Here’s what the PIAA statement issued Friday says:
“The PIAA Board of Directors met this afternoon to review Governor Wolf’s statement strongly recommending no interscholastic and recreational sports until January 1st. As we have noted, our member schools have worked diligently to develop health and safety plans in accordance with the Dept. of Health and the Dept. of Education recommendations to allow students to safely return to interscholastic sports.
“The PIAA Board of Directors have heard the thousands of voices of student-athletes, parents, coaches, and community leaders that have contacted us. The Board believes that the Governor’s strong recommendation to delay sports to Jan. 1, 2021, has a potential negative impact on the students’ physical, social, emotional, and mental health. These issues along with the financial inability of many students to participate in any other form of non-school based athletic programs affect all students directly or indirectly.
“PIAA is asking the Governor, along with the Depts. of Health and Education, to partner with us and work collaboratively to further discuss Fall sports. We are also seeking insight and discussion from the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
“It is clear to PIAA, the unintended consequences of cancelling Fall sports need to be further reviewed. PIAA has worked diligently with its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and developed the following general policy statement:
Based on currently known information, the Committee believes that STRICT ADHERENCE by schools and teams to their school-adopted plans and the Governor’s School Sports Guidance should provide a reasonably safe environment for student athletes to participate in interscholastic athletics as currently scheduled.
“Consistent with the advice of the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, PIAA continues to believe it can safely sponsor Fall sports. On Aug. 21, the Board will reconvene. Between now and then, voluntary workouts, per the Governor’s Guidance for All Sports, and with local approval, may continue. Mandatory Fall sports activity are paused for the two-week period. PIAA remains committed to providing a season for each of the sports during the 2020-2021 school year.”
Analysis: PIAA Sits on the Fence Over Fall High School Sports
The PIAA appears terrified to make its own call here.
The statement released today references Wolf’s Guidance on School Sports but leaves out the “strong recommendation” that sports not be held until the new year. So, technically, the PIAA is saying it’s going forward with the Fall season.
However, they promise to revisit this issue again on Aug. 21, after it pauses any mandated activities like the start of sports practices for two weeks. Remember, “Heat Acclimatization” practice for high school football was scheduled to start on Monday. Now, it appears that’s on hold but it could also be up to the local school districts on how to move forward with that. The PIAA is not clear on that in its statement.
Further, and more troubling, PIAA somehow believes it can have a two-way conversation with Wolf or Health Sect. Rachel Levine on these issues. Have they not been paying attention during this entire pandemic? And why bother involving the General Assembly? They’ve been shut out of all conversations since the beginning of the China virus pandemic.
Wolf’s not open to conversation. It’s literally his way or the highway he can’t fix.
- Wolf “Recommends” No Sports Until 2021, Then Runs Out of the Room
- Schuylkill League Votes 14-4 to Move Forward with Fall High School Sports
- Wolf Passing Buck of Responsibility on High School Sports to Local Officials