Section 2 low and moderate risk winter sports to begin on Dec. 14

The following announcement was sent from Section 2 on Friday, Nov. 13:

Section 2 announced low and moderate risk winter sports can begin on Dec. 14. High risk sports would also start on Dec. 14, pending approval from the New York State Department of Health. If they do not have approval to compete, the official start date for the high risk sports will be pushed to Jan. 4, 2021, still pending approval to compete.

The Section 2 executive committee, with input from NYSDOH, NYSED, NYSPHSAA, school administrators, athletic directors, sport coordinators and Section 2 sport officials, has made the decision to begin our winter sport season on Dec. 14 in accordance with the governor’s and NYSDOH approvals.

The high risk sports will not be given approval to start until NYSDOH approves them for competition. Our winter sport offerings include the following low/moderate level risk sports:

  • Bowling
  • Gymnastics
  • Indoor Track & Field
  • Skiing (Nordic & Alpine)
  • Boys Swimming & Diving

We are waiting on approval to compete for the high-risk sports of basketball, cheerleading, ice hockey, boys winter volleyball and wrestling.

Section 2 President Joseph Sapienza has guided the executive committee with the focus being on our mission statement. Our mission statement includes: Our primary goal is to provide safe quality experiences which foster sportsmanship for our student-athletes, coaches, fans, and school communities. “The Section’s goal through all of this is to be able to provide a safe opportunity to participate for all of our sport offerings,” said Sapienza.

This decision has been made with an understanding of the many challenges school districts and those involved in interscholastic athletics will face. With the guidance we currently have and the commitment to a high level of compliance with that guidance, we can safely provide this opportunity to our member schools. Section 2 Executive Director Ed Dopp shared, “We understand that for a variety of reasons some school districts may opt out of our winter sport offerings. In those cases, we respect and support the individual district decision.”

The winter 2020-21 season will begin on Dec. 14 and run through Feb. 28. The season will focus on regular season play, primarily with league competition. Reduced (participation) and condensed (time) sectional competition will only take place if NYSPHSAA is offering state championships. If there are no state championships, we will encourage and support our leagues and schools to engage in league culminating events, all of which will conclude by Feb. 28.

It is our hope and goal that winter sports will be able to complete a good portion, if not all, the maximum allowable contests. Should there be interruptions or a need to shut down, the section will address those circumstances, at that time. With the Fall 2 season running from March 1 – April 30, and spring sports running from May 1 – June 30, it is likely that winter sports, if postponed, will not have additional opportunities. We have and will continue to distribute the NYSDOH, NYSPHSAA, CDC, NFHS and COVID-19 guidance to our member schools so that they can supplement their individual school district reopening plans and provide the safest environment possible.