PIAA votes to allow fall sports despite governor’s recommendation

High School Sports

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Following weeks of uncertainty, the PIAA is going to move forward with fall sports despite recommendations from the governor to wait until January of next year.

The final vote was 25-5 in favor of starting fall sports on Monday, Aug. 24.

The board of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association delayed the start of fall sports by two weeks after Gov. Tom Wolf on Aug. 6 urged that scholastic and recreational youth sports be put off until January, citing the pandemic.

The PIAA Board of Directors made the decision following a vote on Friday.

The decision also determined that school districts will be responsible compiling a list of school that are participating in fall sports.

Some school districts and leagues have already thrown in the towel on a fall season, including those in Philadelphia, Reading and Harrisburg, saying the risk of spreading the virus is too great. Others districts plan to play now that the PIAA has signed off.

The PIAA has said it was blindsided and “tremendously disappointed” by Wolf’s recommendation, which is not binding, and has insisted that fall sports can be held safely. For his part, Wolf has pointed out that major collegiate leagues have independently canceled fall sports.

In Pennsylvania, some school districts and leagues have already canceled fall sports, including those in Philadelphia, Reading and Harrisburg, saying the risk of spreading the virus is too great, while others plan to play if they get the PIAA’s blessing. Several Pennsylvania high schools have already reported virus cases among athletes, prompting temporary shutdowns of sports programs.

The PIAA, citing a statewide outdoor gathering limit of 250, has prohibited spectators at fall sporting events.

Most of the seats on the 32-member PIAA board are filled with representatives from member schools, with school boards, school administrators, athletic directors and coaches, among others, also represented. The state Department of Education also has a seat.

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