HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A final decision on the fall high school sports season is expected to be made by the PIAA Board of Directors on Friday, August 21.
At the end of July, the PIAA gave the go-ahead for fall sports and schools were gearing up for their respective campaigns. Districts, conferences and leagues were given a list of alternate options to carry out the fall season, if necessary. Governor Tom Wolf gave his recommendation on fall sports on August 6, changing the complexion of the impending season.
There will be many meetings and developments leading up to Friday’s final word. Here’s a dated timeline of how we got here, and what lies ahead.
August 6: Governor Tom Wolf is asked about playing fall sports at a press conference in Harrisburg. “The guidance from us, the recommendation is that we don’t do any sports until Jan. 1.” The PIAA said it was not prepared for this announcement and said a formal statement would be released the next day.
August 7: Many expected the PIAA to cancel sports, in accordance with the Governor’s recommendation. The Board of Directors, however, made the decision to wait to make a final decision, allowing more time to process the recommendation and hear from the PIAA’s stakeholders.
August 11: The PIAA sends a formal letter to Governor Wolf, asking to discuss “possible options for fall sports.”
August 13: Governor Wolf takes questions on his PIAA recommendation at an event in York. Wolf said he had not read the letter sent to him, but knew of it. He doubled down on his recommendation made the week before. “I’m not sure what they can say to make me change my sense of what I believe is the right thing to do,” he said. After the event, it was announced the PIAA would have a conversation with the Governor’s office the next day.
August 14: The PIAA has its expected conversation with the Governor’s office. The call doesn’t produce any common ground between the two sides. The PIAA releases a statement, saying it was “disappointed” with the Governor’s stance. Again, the fall season was not canceled. Instead, the statement doubled down on the Board of Directors meeting on August 21 to “discuss the starting of fall sports.”
The last couple of weeks have provided a public back-and-forth between the PIAA and the Governor, with news outlets serving as the liaison. Throughout the process, parents and student-athletes have let their voices be heard in any way they could think of. A final stand will be taken on Thursday, August 20 at the State Capitol in Harrisburg. There will be a rally, supporting the playing of fall sports. The final decision is expected to come the next day.
The PIAA will be making the final decision. The last two weeks have given the Board of Directors plenty to think about from all sides.
More meetings are set up throughout the week, as the PIAA moves toward its solution.