PIAA allows schools to set own winter sports schedule

Sports

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Principal Association, which represents close to 3,500 principals, asked the PIAA to delay the winter sports season on Wednesday, hours before the organization’s scheduled meeting.

The organization was hoping to buy more time before starting a season, waiting to see the effects of a likely holiday spike and potential vaccine.

The PIAA board wasn’t completely on board.

“I’ve not seen any data as to why January 1 would be better than Dec. 11,” said Dr. Robert Lombardi, the executive director of the PIAA.

Here’s how it works: Regular season deadlines are suspended, and schools can schedule games as late as the championship final. Teams can even play after falling out of playoff contention.

“Instead of maybe a 10-week season, now schools have almost a 16-week season that gives them more flexibility than they even asked for,” Lombardi said.

As for masks, it’s up to each school and athlete, but Lombardi noted that pediatric doctors recommend not doing vigorous activites like wrestling while wearing a mask.

“If it were to fall off during activity where there’s possible points being scored, the match would not be stopped until that action takes place,” Lombardi said.

Another consideration is when can teams play again if there’s a COVID outbreak at their school.

“It’s not the school shutdown, it’s the interruption of practice,” Lombardi said.

If a team misses seven days, they need two practices before a game. If they miss 10, it increases to three practices, and 14-plus days needs four practices.

“It’s a slow, measured approach, keeping your eye in the sky about what is going on around you, and making decisions on a day by day basis,” Lombardi said.

Gov. Wolf does have the authority to shut down sports entirely, but Lombardi said he has no information if any further restrictions are coming.

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