WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced on Friday that all 2021 winter state championships would be canceled due to logistics and travel concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Additionally, all high risk sports are now postponed until authorization is granted by state officials to resume those sports which include basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, football, ice hockey, volleyball and wrestling.
High risk sports were tentatively slated to start January 4th, and the Executive Director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Doctor Robert Zayas, explained the reason for the postponement.
“So, with us seeing that we’re not going to get authorization, not very likely that we’re going to get authorization as infection rates and hospitalization rates increase, that we realized that January 4th is no longer a reality. If we push to January 19th and then would we be in the same exact situation in a few more weeks. That’s the reason why we’re postponing until authorization is given and we’re not establishing a target or goal date,” said Zayas.
Zayas added while the high risk sports are postponed for now, teams can and will still be allowed to prepare for seasons in those if protocols are followed.
”Although high risk sports right now are postponed, that does not mean that a school district on their own cannot host an off-season conditioning activity in accordance with our bylaws and the DOH guidance. So if a basketball coach does want to get their student athletes, bring them into the gym to do skill development, shoot free throws, dribbling drills, they certainly have the ability to do that,” said Zayas.
Low and moderate risk sports and their regular seasons will continue as planned for now, something Zayas says is a positive considering other states have all their high school sports shut down.
”Let’s not lose sight of the fact that we have low and moderate risk sports. While many states around the country, California specifically, has no sports right now participating, so I think to look at our ability to at least be able to provide low and moderate risk sport offerings for our student athletes is a step in the right direction,” said Zayas.
It’s a step coaches and players hope leads to high risk sports getting the green light to begin before the clock runs out on the 2020-21 high school sports season.