The group in charge of high school sports met Friday in an emergency session after Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said school and youth sports should be postponed until Jan. 1 because of COVID-19.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Directors has started to reevaluate the plans it had in place, but in a statement Friday afternoon said, it believes delaying sports will have a “potential negative impact on the students’ physical, social, emotional and mental health.”
The statement goes on to say, “These issues, along with the financial inability of many students to participate in any other form of non-school based athletic programs affect all students directly or indirectly.”
PIAA Executive Director Bob Lombardi said he was “surprised as anyone” by Wolf’s recommendation, which caused a scramble by PIAA to reevaluate its original plan.
In response to Wolf’s announcement on Thursday, the PIAA said: “We are tremendously disappointed in this decision. Our member schools have worked diligently to develop health and safety plans to allow students the safe return to interscholastic athletics.”
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The PIAA made a motion during its Friday meeting to postpone all fall sports for two weeks until August 24.
Last week, the PIAA said fall sports would move forward with no spectators.
During the next two weeks, PIAA members said they want to meet with the governor, health department and school stakeholders to come up with a safety plan that everyone can get behind.
Since the governor’s recommendation, the response from the public has been overwhelming.
We have been inundated with thousands of emails and a lot of phone calls from the general assembly -- moms, dads, grandparents and all sorts of school people ... coaches, student athletes themselves,” Lombardi said.
Those thousands of emotional messages, input from Wolf and discussions among the board will all weigh in on a decision that impacts the entire state.
Pittsburgh Public Schools announced Thursday it is recommending the postponement of all fall sports and the school board will take a vote on Aug. 26.
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