Lombardi on PIAA season: ‘We deserve the opportunity to try’


HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — A final decision on the high school sports season wasn’t expected Friday and one wasn’t given, following a conversation between the PIAA and the Governor’s staff.

Based on a statement released by the PIAA shortly after the conversation, it doesn’t sound like the two sides came much closer to some sort of agreement. Governor Tom Wolf recommends all sports be moved back to January of 2021, while the athletic association wants formal activities to resume within a month.

On August 21, a final decision will be made, and that decision rests in the hands of the PIAA’s Board of Directors. The board has a week to come up with the answer hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians are waiting for.

The board’s Executive Director, Dr. Robert Lombardi, is a spokesman for the group. He doesn’t get a vote, come August 21.

“In [a situation] like this, I would like to have one,” he joked to ABC27 Sports’ Allie Berube on a Zoom call Friday evening.

Dr. Lombardi did give his opinions on an impending season though, as the possibility of playing fall sports is still on the table.

“Our schools have done such a great job, our coaches have, our parents have, our kids have,” he said. “We deserve the opportunity to try. And if it doesn’t work, we’ll shut it down and we’ll go to Plan B.”

He added that there’s much more that goes into a decision than just enforcing beliefs.

“What people don’t understand is, this is a process that we always work through, and we get good information to make good decisions,” he said.

The process enters a second and final week, after adjusting to news of the Governor’s recommendation on August 6. A final decision looms, and the PIAA is working on its goal to represent the school districts in Pennsylvania.

School districts and the families involved have been outspoken over the past week, and the PIAA is hearing all that’s being said.

“We have heard loud and clear what the general public and the schools want,” Lombardi said. “We didn’t know that two weeks ago.”

“And I think the Governor’s hearing it, too.”

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