The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced that the start date for high-risk winter sports — basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey, and wrestling — will be moved from Nov. 30 to Jan. 4.

Until authorization is granted by state officials, NYSPHSAA member schools are not permitted to participate in sports determined to be high risk by the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH). Low- and moderate-risk winter sports — bowling, gymnastics, indoor track and field, skiing, and boys’ swimming and diving — will be permitted to begin practicing on Nov. 30 as previously determined by NYSPHSAA.

Regular-season games/contests can begin for low- and moderate-risk fall sports once student-athletes have participated in the required number of practices as per NYSPHSAA bylaws.

“The NYSPHSAA membership has expressed concerns pertaining to the increase in infection rates,” Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director, said. “Minimizing risk and exposure to Covid-19 is a top priority of the Association. We continue to make these types of decisions based upon readily available information and communication with state officials.”

Meanwhile, schools in Section I are continuing to weigh the feasibility of the Nov. 30 start date for low- and moderate-risk sports. Spring sports are tentatively set to begin practicing on March 14.

“NYSPHSAA’s leadership recognizes the numerous challenges interscholastic programs are experiencing and the obstacles associated with resuming high-risk sports,” NYSPHSAA president Julie Bergman said. “While it is certainly the goal of the Association to provide all students with the ability to participate in interscholastic athletics, we must remain steadfast in our decisions to ensure the safety of our athletes is our focus.”

At this time, all winter NYSPHSAA state championship events remain as scheduled.

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