After Pressure from Governor, Pennsylvania High School Sports Delayed Two Weeks

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Photo Courtesy: North Penn Swim Twitter (@NPKnightsSwim)

A day after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf recommended that youth and high school sports in the Commonwealth be suspended for the rest of the year, the state’s athletic federation, the PIAA, agreed to a two-week delay.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association delayed sports across the state for two weeks. Practices for football were due to start Aug. 10 in the state; the delay moves that to Aug. 24 and moves the first competition date Sept. 11.

The announcement is mainly to buy time. Many leagues, including the WPIAL in the greater Pittsburgh area, the Philadelphia Catholic League and leagues in the Philadelphia suburbs and Lehigh Valley have independently delayed their seasons by two weeks or more. In some cases, the first competition date for the fall has been moved back as far as first week of October. The state has given individual school districts wide discretion in setting schedules in consultation with local health authorities.

From an organization statement:

“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 Departments 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.”
Swimming and diving is a winter sport in Pennsylvania, with the season starting in November for practice and December for competitions, so it’s not yet affected. Water polo, though not a PIAA sanctioned sport, is contested in the fall. It is pegged to schools’ athletics seasons, so any delay would filter down to it as well.

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