Winter championships cancelled, high-risk sports postponed

Rob Maeske
The Chronicle-Express

List includes basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheer, football, ice hockey, volleyball, wrestling

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced the cancellation of all 2021 Winter State Championships. NYSPHSAA also made the decision to postpone all "high-risk" sports until authorization was granted by state officials.

“When examining the feasibility of Winter State Championships, it became apparent that travel and overnight accommodations would create a unique challenge for our member schools,” said NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas. “At this time, we must prioritize maximizing student participation without a focus on championship events.”

This is the second time the winter season has been pushed back for sports that have been designated as high-risk for spreading COVID after an initial postponement in November. At that time, NYSPHSAA had given a tentative date of Jan. 4 as a possible date high-risk sports could begin practices. The affected sports include basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheer, football, ice hockey, volleyball and wrestling.

NYSPHSAA stated the decisions were made with an abundance of feedback from its member schools and cited increased logistics in regard to travel, hotel accommodations and meal planning due to increasing rates of COVID transmission in the state. In addition, venues are being heavily regulated with capacity limitations and social distancing restrictions.

“As an educator, I am witnessing first-hand the challenges our member schools are facing each day in addressing this pandemic,” said Julie Bergman, NYSPHSAA President. “It is important we continue listening to the concerns being expressed by our membership when making decisions impacting interscholastic athletics.”

This will mark the second year in a row there will be no state basketball championships in New York. Last season's boys and girls regional and state tournaments were canceled after the virus began to take hold across the country in March. New York state's spring high school season was then canceled as well. This year's fall regional and state championships were also canceled.

Low and moderate-risk regular season sports continue to be permitted. The 2021 NYSPHSAA Spring State Championships remain as scheduled at this time.

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