It looks like football in the fall, so far—says the PIAA
PIAA Board of Directors met on Wednesday and after what seemed to be an interminable wait, it was decided that fall sports would follow a “status quo” process.
PIAA football teams are expected to report for summer practice on Monday, August 17.
During the meeting, PIAA executive director Dr. Robert Lombardi stated during the meeting, “It was the consensus of the committee for us to get as many activities of sports in starting with the fall and heat acclimatization starting on Aug. 10. We are trying to hold serve and stay the course based on any other information we received.
“We would like to compliment schools in how well they’ve done their health and safety plans because even though we’ve had a few hiccups in some areas of the state, most people
are doing a pretty darn good job prescreening, interviewing, observing and practicing good hygiene, good health habits and making sure people are hydrated and taking care of their health and safety or well-being as they participate in out-of-season workouts.”
The next stage where PIAA fall sports will be discussed by the Board of Directors will be on Wednesday, July 29, when PIAA President Frank Majikes said there will be another competition steering committee meeting.
The PIAA released a statement Wednesday on Twitter that reads: “PIAA is moving forward with the normal start of the fall sports season unless otherwise directed by the Commonwealth. Heat acclimatization for football will begin on August 10 and the first practice date for the remaining fall sports will begin on August 17. Our focus is the health and safety of student athletes which is paramount in moving forward with athletics. Each member school has developed health and safety guidelines to allow athletics to continue as an important part of the school day. Participation in athletics has known health benefits, including promoting physical fitness and mental wellness which is necessary in a time of uncertainty for our student athletes.
“PIAA is committed to providing a season for all sports in the upcoming school year and will be flexible if conditions would change.”
It is interesting to note that on the same day the PIAA went public stating it would be going forward with its fall seasons, the Board of Directors of the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC) voted on Tuesday, July 14, to suspend all mandated conference athletic events and championships through the fall semester in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a PSAC released a statement that says, “the Conference has already undertaken a full review of its ability to shift fall sports competition and championships to the spring semester and fully intends to do so if a return to competition can be safely executed.”
PSAC Commissioner Steve Murray states: “The entire conference has worked hard these last few months to prepare for the return of sports to our campuses beginning this fall.
“However, it has become apparent that the safe conduct of sports under the guidelines of social distancing is untenable for our members. We cannot place our student-athletes at greater risk than the general student body. Despite our planning and collective efforts, it has become clear that we are not able to do so.”
Wednesday was a good first step towards high school football taking place in the fall, but there is the looming caveat that there may not be fans allowed in the stands.
On Tuesday, Philadelphia mayor Jim Kenney stated the City of Philadelphia will not be permitting any large events until at least February 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today, I am really disappointed to announce that we will have a moratorium on large public events through February 28, 2021,” Kenney announced. “The city’s office of special events will not accept, review, process, or approve applications, issue permits, or enter into agreements for special events or public gatherings of 50 people or more on public property through the end of February.”
Kenney added that the hold on large public events does not apply to outdoor gatherings that are not publicly advertised, like picnics and weddings, or group recreational activities with less than 25 participants.
Also exempt are events and gatherings on private property, such as performance venues and stadiums, and management must follow applicable guidance from the city’s and state’s health officials.
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been covering high school football since 1992 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito. Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball.
Follow EasternPAFootball.com on Twitter @EPAFootball
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