The New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s Executive Committee unanimously approved a new football proposal for the 2020 season, Wednesday, May 27.

The new rule will allow teams to play 10 games before section championships, by way of an added eighth regular season game, if its section approves.

“It means that instead of playing a scrimmage, you’re able to play a game now,” Unatego athletic director Matt Hafele said. “I don’t know how many local teams will take advantage of that.”

Essentially, teams will be allowed the opportunity to schedule an extra game if it would like to. Hafele said it would be referred to as ‘Week 0’, similar to how it is classified in college football.

“It would be nine more [games] before the section finals,” Hafele said on what a team’s remaining schedule would look like if it decides to play in Week 0. “The section finals could be your 11th game now.”

Walton coach Adam Hoover highlighted the fact that teams would have to decide whether the trade-off of more game time for less practice time is worth it.

“It’s a double-edged sword in my mind,” Hoover said. “I like the idea of it being seen as a scrimmage. I always liked to scrimmage in the past. It would always give us a chance to see what our young guys can do.”

Hafele, who is also on the Section IV football committee, feels smaller schools, especially, would have to weigh the risk with the reward of an extra game.

“Some of our local schools here have some issues with numbers and depth and I don’t know if [another game] is helpful,” Hafele said. “I think that’s one of the factors you’d have to look at.”

The Executive Committee also approved to extend the regional rotations from 2020 to 2021 in boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball, boys lacrosse, and girls lacrosse for the winter and spring of 2021.

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