Echoing what many saw coming, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association has officially canceled the Spring State Championships for all sports, for the 2020 Season. The move is in response to the presence of Covid-19, a viral pandemic still affecting large portions of the State.
The announcement comes on the heels of the the definitive decisions by both Section 11 (Suffolk), and then soon after Section 8 (Nassau), canceling their Spring Sports Seasons on Monday, regardless if schools were set to return. With two of the largest participating Sections unable to attend a Spring Championship, hope began to fade for a return to "normal" in 2020.
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There is still a chance that Upstate Athletes will see some form of organized athletics this Spring. Many local Athletic Directors have discussed the possibility of holding In-Season meets, should schools return. For track, that may include a few dual meets, all the way up through a Sectional Championship. Most likely, Sectionals would be run closer to an Invitational, rather than a elimination meet, to provide the opportunity for more athletes to be able to participate. Holding Sectional Meets also allows attendance to only be limited to those teams within the same Classification, appeasing crowding issues that may be a concern for years to come.
All of these plans are contingent on Governor Cuomo's decision on returning to School while still during the 2020 school year. As recently as yesterday, Cuomo has been non-committal on whether a return is in the future. He did mention that Schools would be a big part for any large-scale business reopening, a major part of the Phase 2 of the Coronavirus "Return to Normal" process. This is likely due to the role schools would play in giving workers a place for their child to be, so that they could return to work as well.
Currently, schools are set to return on May 15th, although a further delay could be issued before that date approaches. New York has been identified on the "back end of the curve," but whether or not the threat will be mitigated by that time is unclear.
You can find the full release below the following statement from NYSPHSAA Executive Director, Dr. Robert Zayas.
NYSPHSAA Cancels Spring State Championships,
Regular Season Remains on Hold
Latham, NY - The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announces the cancellation of the 2020 spring state championship events. The impacted events are boys and girls track & field, boys tennis, softball, baseball, golf and both boys and girls lacrosse state championships scheduled to be held between June 4th - 13th.
"Unfortunately, with the continued impact of the COVID-19 crisis, hosting the spring 2020 state championships is no longer feasible (time factor, facility and venue availability, etc.)" said Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA's President. "Canceling the remaining winter state championships in late March was challenging and the cancelation of our spring state championships today is equally disappointing."
Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA Executive Director said, "Today's decision is difficult for the membership of NYSPHSAA. We certainly sympathize with the students, coaches and their school communities, especially the graduating seniors."
The NYSPHSAA will continue to rely upon information from the New York State Department of Health, local health departments as well as the Governor's office for information and guidance on COVID-19 and its impact upon the spring regular season. As of today, the spring regular season remains on hold for nine of the 11 Sections; Section VIII and XI (Long Island) officially canceled all spring events on April 21st. Individual Sections have the authority to decide whether to hold regular season contests.
For student-athletes to return to athletic participation this spring, schools need to be reopened by the Governor of New York State. The date students can return to school will play a significant role in the possibility of a spring sports regular season.
About NYSPHSAA (Twitter: @NYSPHSAA | Facebook: NYSPHSAA | YouTube: NYSPHSAASports):
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association Inc. is a non-profit, voluntary, educational service organization composed of public, parochial, and private schools dedicated to providing equitable and safe competition for the students of its member schools. The organization conducts 32 championship events and governs the rules and regulations of high school athletics in New York State. Membership is open to secondary schools providing interschool athletic activities for boys and girls in grades 7-12.