MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – Kids are going to be playing sports no matter what, so why not do it within the structure of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association and its member schools?
That was at the heart of a letter sent from PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert Lombardi to Governor Tom Wolf, seeking the return to play of fall sports in 2020.
Last Friday, the PIAA delayed the start of the fall sports season by two week after a recommendation by Wolf that youth sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021.
“We also believe, however, that sports are going to be played by youth, whether within the PIAA structure or otherwise and that doing so within the educational umbrella may provide the safest means for that to occur.”
Lombardi went on to say that kids have been playing sports all summer, including AAU basketball and travel baseball, softball, volleyball and soccer.
“In the public domain, golf courses and tennis facilities have hosted numerous competitive tournament,” Lombardi wrote. “Many charitable organizations have hosted road races. The sports of field hockey, volleyball, basketball, baseball and soccer have had countless age group tournaments across the commonwealth. To our knowledge, none have reported problems with coronavirus breakouts.”
In a Wednesday story featured on D9and10sports.com doctors from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia detailed a possible safe return to play for fall sports, citing factors such as local conditions and which sports are at lower risk to be done safely (https://d9and10sports.com/returning-to-play-decisions-should-be-made-based-on-local-conditions-other-factors-chop-says/).
Lombardi echoed similar sentiments.
“In planning for fall sports, our priority has been to advance the possibility of completing our seasons in good fall weather and stay away from the heart of flu season,” he wrote. “While, due to outbreaks in different areas of the state, some schools may not be able to play some or all sports, we believe there remains a viable path to permit students in many schools the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics in a controlled, healthy and safe manner.”
The 2-week PIAA moratorium is scheduled to end on Aug. 24.