WPIAL officials frustrated by ‘inconsistent messaging’ when it comes to fall sports

WPIAL officials frustrated by 'inconsistent messaging'

PITTSBURGH — The fate of fall sports continues to hang in the balance and WPIAL leaders said Monday they are frustrated by the changing guidelines and comments from Governor Wolf and the Department of Health.

Despite the recommendations from state leaders, WPIAL officials said their fall sports seasons are still scheduled to happen.

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Many things had changed with high school athletics over the course of the last few months, Executive Director Amy Scheuneman said Monday during a news conference, including schools creating plans to reopen and allow athletic activities over the summer.

The PIAA issued their return-to-play guidelines last month and outlined their modifications to delay the start of competition. Last week, Governor Wolf recommended fall sports be postponed to the spring and that athletics should not happen if students are not having in-person classes.

“What is not being calculated are the negative and adverse effects like isolation, depression, anxiety and incentive to do well in school. We need this for the kids,” Scheuneman said.

Scheuneman added she wants clearer messaging in terms of how and when to hold sporting events.

It is inevitable that people would contract COVID-19, Schuneman said, and told Channel 11 her organization is keeping an eye on what other sports leagues are doing.

The ability to adhere to social distancing guidelines is much easier in some sports than it is in a school hallway, she added.

Two weeks ago, the WPIAL board voted to trade the traditional start dates of the football season and instead opted for a “hybrid” option. It allowed later dates to be established for each fall sport and gave schools added flexibility as they transition back to class amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

High school football is scheduled to start Sept. 10.

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