LATHAM — The New York State Public High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday that the start date for high-risk winter sports — basketball, competitive cheer, ice hockey and wrestling — will be pushed back to Jan. 4, while low- and moderate-risk sports — bowling, gymnastics, indoor track and field and swimming and diving — can begin as scheduled on Nov. 30.
The NYSPHSAA also announced that state winter championships are expected to take place as scheduled.
The announced start date for high-risk sports is not final. State officials must still give final authorization to NYSPHSAA member schools to participate in high-risk sports, based on guidelines from the State Department of Health.
Section III — where Cortland, Homer, Cincinnatus, DeRuyter and McGraw play — previously announced that the indoor track and field season would be cancelled, no sports would start until Dec. 14 at the earliest and no sectional championships would be held.
“The NYSPHSAA membership has expressed concerns pertaining to the increase in infection rates,” NYSPHSAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Zayas said. “Minimizing risk and exposure to COVID-19 is a top priority of the association. We continue to make these types of decisions based upon readily available information and communication with state officials.”
Regular-season games can begin for low- and moderate-risk winter sports once student-athletes have participated in the required number of practices as per NYSPHSAA bylaws.
“NYSPHSAA’s leadership recognizes the numerous challenges interscholastic programs are experiencing and the obstacles associated with resuming high risk sports,” NYSPHSAA President Julie Bergman said. “While it is certainly the goal of the association to provide all students with the ability to participate in interscholastic athletics we must remain steadfast in our decisions to ensure the safety of our athletes is our focus.”