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New York public high school football, volleyball, cheer seasons pushed to March

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association says 'low and moderate-risk fall sports' will start, as planned, on September 21.

LATHAM, N.Y. — There will be no football, volleyball, or competitive cheer seasons this fall, according to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association.

The NYSPHSAA  made that news official on Wednesday night. Those seasons will be moved to March 1, 2021.

In addition, the traditional spring sports start date has been pushed back to April 19, 2021. The original start date for those sports was March 15.

The move addresses "membership concerns associated with high-risk fall sports," according to the statement, which said the decision was made late Wednesday afternoon.

The NYSPHSAA added that "low and moderate-risk fall sports," will start, as planned, on September 21. Those sports include girls tennis, cross country, girls swimming and diving, boys soccer, girls soccer, and field hockey. 

“We’ve spent two days speaking with nearly 500 athletic directors across the state and it’s clear that administering high-risk fall sports during the COVID-19 pandemic presents a significant challenge for our member schools,” Dr. Robert Zayas, the NYSPHSAA Executive Director, said in the statement.

“These are unprecedented times, and unfortunately difficult decisions will have to be made to address this ongoing crisis. We continue to stay committed to providing support to our member schools and quality participation experiences for the students we serve.”

The postponed football, volleyball, or competitive cheer seasons will not be called spring sports. Instead, they will be classified as "Fall Sports Season II," with practices starting on March 1.

“The NYSPHSAA officers have determined it would be unrealistic to host football, volleyball and competitive cheer seasons this fall,” Julie Bergman, the NYSPHSAA President, said. “This continues to be the most challenging situation educators have ever addressed."

"I, along with my fellow officers, believe the participation experiences for football, volleyball, and competitive cheer athletes will be more beneficial in the spring than in the fall.”