October 25, 2021

IAC postpones fall sports until March

Photo provided by New York State Public High School Athletic Association

The Interscholastic Athletic Conference has voted to postpone the fall 2020 sports season to March 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, meaning there will be no high school sports this fall for 19 schools in the Southern Tier, including Groton, Dryden and Marathon.

“During these unprecedented times with COVID impacting our lives in many ways, one group dealing with that impact are our student athletes,” IAC executive director Bill Bryant said. “It is therefore incredibly difficult to make changes to traditional athletic schedules in our schools. But we are in the midst of a pandemic and the most important consideration when making any decision, is the safety of our young people. It is also important for our student athletes, parents and communities to have accurate information.”

“As the formalities of the current fall cancellation continue to unfold in the near future, athletic directors in Section IV will continue to meet to determine how the condensed seasons will look,” Marathon athletic director Todd James said. “While the state has a condensed three season model in place, the five leagues of Section IV are not obligated to follow that model. Even so, the state model will most likely serve as a starting point.”

The condensed model would have winter sports start no earlier than Nov. 30 and possibly as late as January, followed by fall sports in March and spring sports in April.

The IAC’s decision is part of a domino effect for the other leagues in Section IV, including the MAC, STAC, Delaware Conference and Tri-Valley Conference. They have all either already voted to postpone fall sports or are highly likely to do so in the near future. James made the announcement “with much disappointment” and was awaiting a formal announcement by Section IV for a section-wide edict.

The NYSPHSAA had previously announced that fall sports practices could begin Sept. 21 and games could be played between teams in contiguous counties or districts, but with Section IV potentially shutting down for the fall, it could have another domino effect on the surrounding sections, including Section III, where Cortland, Cincinnatus, DeRuyter, Homer and McGraw play. Section III announced late last week that fall sports could begin as planned on the 21st.