Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has responded to Friday’s decision by the PIAA Board of Governors to move forward with the 2020 fall sports season, and acting against the governor’s recommendation.
Wolf recommended that K-12 sports not be played in Pennsylvania before Jan. 1. The PIAA board voted on Friday to begin fall sports practices on Aug. 24, with a potential first day of the season on Friday, Sept. 11.
“The Wolf administration has been in contact with representatives from PIAA as needed throughout the pandemic,” Wolf’s statement read. “While the administration expressed broad concern with the PIAA’s plans, including its request for liability protections, we’ve made it clear to them since July that this decision should be made by the PIAA in concert with local school districts.
“The governor has a deep appreciation for the importance of athletics and the role sports play in the lives of student-athletes. The governor’s recommendation is grounded in public health evidence and a common-sense reaction to league after league cancelling or postponing their fall seasons, outbreaks across the country, growing evidence of higher transmission in children, protecting higher-risk adults, and the fundamentally important need to get kids back into learning in classrooms. Every gathering outside the classroom jeopardizes a school’s ability to resume in-person instruction because it increases the risk of super-spreading events.”
Several Pennsylvania school districts have chosen to decide on their own to cancel their fall sports seasons, including WPIAL members Summit Academy and Uniontown and the Pittsburgh City League will have a vote on Wednesday on whether or not to play this fall. City League athletic director Karen Arnold was one of five no votes on the PIAA’s decision, compared to 25 yes votes.