The New York State Public High Schools Athletic Association announced Monday, March 23, that it was canceling its remaining winter state championships because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19.
“It is with great disappointment that we make the decision to cancel the remaining winter championship events,” NYSPHSAA executive director Dr. Robert Zayas said in a release on the organization’s website. “Our association’s focus is to benefit students through participation in interscholastic athletics and unfortunately this rapidly developing situation has prevented our association from providing a quality championship experience. We certainly sympathize for the students who are being impacted by this crisis but at this time they deserve honesty from the leadership of our association.”
The cancellation affects the girls and boys basketball championships, as well as the bowling and ice hockey championships.
“This is one of the most difficult decisions the officers of the NYSPHSAA have ever had to make,” Paul Harrica, NYSPHSAA president, said in the release. “It has been determined it is not feasible for the winter state championships to be hosted in a safe and beneficial manner for the participating student-athletes and their teams in the near future. The health and safety of the students we serve will always be our top priority.”
Three area teams remained in winter competition at the time of announcement, with Cooperstown and Unatego originally slated to play a girls basketball Class C regional final Saturday, March 14, in Syracuse.
South Kortright girls basketball was scheduled to play Livingston Manor in a girls basketball Class D regional final Thursday, March 12, the same day the initial postponement was announced by NYSPHSAA.
The release said factors influencing the decision “include but are not limited to” the COVID-19 public threat, Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations as well as state and federal emergency statuses. Extended school closures and input from the state’s 11 sections were included in the list.
The decision followed a NYSPHSAA announcement Wednesday, March 18, that a plan would be announced Monday after taking input from the sections.
At the time, Section IV Interscholastic Sports Coordinator Ben Nelson said he was working on a proposal to play the tournaments in the weeks following the reopening of schools, which he would share with others in the section. Nelson could not be reached Monday for comment on what input Section IV gave to NYSPHSAA nor section-specific plans for spring sports.
The release said NYSPHSAA would announce plans for the spring state championships no later than Monday, April 27.