The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced Wednesday night that it will postpone the fall football, volleyball and competitive cheerleading seasons until March 1, 2021 due to concerns with the COVID-19 pandemic.
In doing so, New York becomes the 18th state to shift football to the spring. As of last weekend, 23 states have already kicked off, including Ohio. Nine more states plan to begin play this fall, including Pennsylvania this week.
"We’ve spent two days speaking with nearly 500 athletic directors across the state and it's clear that administering high-risk fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge for our member schools," NYSPHSAA executive director Dr. Robert Zayas said in a release
. "These are unprecedented times and unfortunately, difficult decisions will have to be made to address this ongoing crisis. We continue to stay committed to providing support to our member schools and quality participation experiences for the students we serve."
Low and moderate risk sports (girls tennis, cross country, girls swimming/diving, boys soccer, girls soccer, field hockey) are still scheduled to proceed with their Sept. 21 start date. Regular season games can begin for those sports once student-athletes have participated in the required number of practices.
The revised season for football, volleyball and fall competitive cheer will be known as "Fall Sports Season II" and may officially begin practices on March 1, 2021.
As a result of fall high-risk sports being moved, the start date for the spring sports season has been adjusted to April 19, 2021. The first official practice for spring sports will now be April 19, 2021 (the original start date was March 15).
"The NYSPHSAA officers have determined it would be unrealistic to host football, volleyball and competitive cheer seasons this fall," said Julie Bergman, NYSPHSAA President. "This continues to be the most challenging situation educators have ever addressed. I, along with my fellow officers, believe the participation experiences for football, volleyball and competitive cheer athletes will be more beneficial in the spring than in the fall."