WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - On Friday, the New York State Public High School Athletic announced that the 2021 Winter State Championships were canceled and that all high risk sports were postponed until authorization is granted by state officials to resume those sports.
A decision that Executive Director of the New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Dr. Robert Zayas, didn’t think he would have to make.
”A month ago, I really felt like we had infection rates and hospitalization rates where I would have thought that we needed them to be and I thought we had the momentum to go ahead and get authorization, but unfortunately, over the course of the last 4 or 5 weeks, we’ve really seen infection rates and hospitalization rates increase which has presented concerns to a number of different people within our organization, within school districts,” said Zayas.
Another thing that has presented concern is the method of how high risk sports such as basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, football, ice hockey, volleyball and wrestling are classified as high risk sports, prompting some of those sports to question their classification.
Zayas says those designations have been determined by the Department of Health and are consistent with other states around the country.
”Boys lacrosse is questioning their risk assessment, and I think basketball and ice hockey. If you look at the sports of basketball, we’ve identified 10 other states throughout the country that characterize basketball as a high risk sport. We’ve identified 6 other states throughout the country that identify ice hockey as a high risk sport. Again, the risk assessment was developed by the New York State Department of Health,” said Zayas.
Zayas also addressed the frustration of both the parents of high risk sport athletes and the athletes themselves not knowing if or when they can get back to competition.
He says he is one of those parents and adds contrary to popular belief, the state is not kicking the can down the road delaying the inevitable of another sports season lost to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So for all those parents out there that have to tell their children to be patient, I’m one of them and I understand how difficult that is. We are not delaying the inevitable. We are not hiding anything. We are doing our best, we’re remaining optimistic and positive and we do have the goal of hosting high risk sports this winter season. If and when that goal does not look as if it’s going to be able to be a reality, we have no problem making the decision and informing the general public and our schools of that decision but right now we are still optimistic that this can be done,” said Zayas.
Sunday Sports Scores
Men’s College Hockey
- Clarkson 6, Mercyhurst 0