NYSPHSAA

After two days of what appeared to be movement toward having a season of fall high school sports, the always-present chance that fall sports might not begin became more apparent Wednesday, Aug. 26.

While Section IV Executive Director Ben Nelson said Tuesday his goal was to facilitate a fall sports season, with the New York State Public High School Athletic Association working to produce guidance that would help the state's sections do so, other parties have already given up on the option or are lobbying against it.

Section VIII, which covers Nassau County, announced that it was postponing all interscholastic sports until 2021 despite Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision, announced Monday, to let most fall sports begin practicing and playing Sept. 21.

"Based on an abundance of caution, Section VIII has made the difficult decision to delay the start of all fall sports and instead plan to run all three sport seasons consecutively, starting in January 2021," a statement on the section's website read.

The statement said winter sports would be played in January and February, followed by fall sports in March and April with spring sports played in May and June.

"While we understand that this decision may be disappointing, the health and safety of the student-athletes, district staffs and communities of Nassau County will always be our top priority," the statement said.

Meanwhile, New York State Council of School Superintendents Executive Director Charles S. Dedrick released a letter to Cuomo on Wednesday, urging the governor to reconsider his permission for a Sept. 21 start on the grounds that athletics "could jeopardize successful resumption of in-person learning for students."

"This is an uncertain time for schools. Our leaders want a successful reopening and are expressing a strong desire to defer all other activities that could endanger the health and safety of students and delay their start in the classroom," the letter said.

NYSPHSAA began its response to the governor's guidance Tuesday by meeting with section executive directors and convening its COVID-19 Task Force, with initial word from the meetings indicating that the association was aiming to facilitate a fall season rather than debating whether or not to have one.

More meetings were slated for Wednesday, with conversations about specific guidelines on how and when schools can begin athletic extracurricular activities on the agenda.

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