The hope is still alive for fall sports to be played in Pennsylvania this fall.
After receiving over 7,500 emails in the last 24 hours, the PIAA wants more time to research and have more dialogue with Governor Tom Wolf and our state leaders about trying to find a safe safe to allow high school sports to be played this fall.
The PIAA announced that while voluntary workouts can continue, all mandatory fall sports have been suspended for two weeks. The PIAA board of directors met this afternoon and will meet again on August 21. Following today’s meeting they released this statement.
“The PIAA Board of Directors met this afternoon to review Governor Wolf’s statement strongly recommending no interscholastic and recreational sports until January 1. As we have noted, our members schools have worked diligently to develop health and safety plans in accordance with the Department of Health and Department of Education recommendations to allow students to safely return to interscholastic sports.
The PIAA Board of Directors as heard the thousands of voices of student-athletes, parents, coaches, and community leaders that have contacted us. The Board believes that the Governor’s strong recommendation to delay sports to January 1, 2021 has a potential negative impact on the students’ physical, social, emotional, and mental health. These issues along with the financial inability of many students to participate in any other form of non-school based athletic programs affect all students directly or indirectly.
PIAA is asking the Governor, along with the Department of Health and Education, to partner with us and work collaboratively to further discuss fall sports. We are also seeking insight and discussion from the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
It is clear to PIAA, the unintended consequences of cancelling fall sports need to be further reviewed. PIAA has worked diligently with it’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and developed the following general policy statement:
Based on currently known information, the Committee believes that STRICT ADHERENCE by schools and teams to their school-adopted plans and the Governor’s School Sports Guidance should provide a reasonably safe environment for student athletes to participate in interscholastic athletics as currently scheduled.
Consistent with the advice of the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, PIAA continues to believe it can safely sponsor fall sports. On August 21, the Board will reconvene. Between now and then, voluntary workouts, per the Governor’s Guidance for All Sports, and with local approval, may continue. Mandatory fall sports activities are paused for the two week period. PIAA remains committed to providing a season for each of the sports during the 2020-21 school year.”
The recommendation from Governor Wolf doesn’t apply to professional or college sports as both the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Pitt Panthers have started training camp.
With this current pauses in sports, the earliest the WPIAL highs school football season can being is mid-September.