Pennsylvania made it official Friday — the fall season remains intact. The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association's Board of Directors voted 25-5 to proceed with the fall season, going against Gov. Tom Wolf's "strong recommendation" to suspend all sports until Jan. 1 because of the coronavirus.
State athletics had been paused since Wolf's Aug 6th off-the-cuff press conference recommendation after the PIAA had laid out its 2020-21 plans. The PIAA then met with the Governor's office the last two weeks before deciding to go forward with its original fall schedule.
With the two-week delay, heat acclimatization for football starts Monday, the same day all practices begin for all other sports. Football will kick off with games Sept. 11, and scrimmages the week prior. All other fall sports games start Sept 11, except golf (Aug. 27) and tennis (Aug. 31).
Executive Director Bob Lombardi told reporters after Friday's
announcement there's a "no spectator" rule in effect for the entire
state, but he hopes his organization can change that ruling.
"The PIAA Board of Directors has heard the thousands of voices of student-athletes, parents, coaches, officials as well as community leaders that have contacted us," the PIAA wrote in a release. "We remind those individuals who have strongly advocated for athletics that they must keep strict adherence to school health and safety plans. All individuals involved in interscholastic athletic communities have a role in the health and wellness of all participants.
"The Board agrees the decision to compete in athletics should be made locally allowing for each school entity to decide whether to proceed and which sports to sponsor. As the health and safety of students is paramount in moving forward with athletics, the Board believes that through each member schools' adherence to their developed school health and safety plans and the PIAA Return to Competition guidelines, sports can continue."
Pennsylvania is the 33rd state currently committed to play football in the fall, 16 others plan to play in 2021 and Maine is still undecided.