(WKBN) – The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) has not yet made a decision about whether or not high school sports will be suspended this season.
The organization believes fall sports can happen safely. However, mandatory fall sports activities are paused for two weeks until the PIAA meets again. Voluntary workouts may continue with local approval.
The PIAA will meet again August 21. It’s talking with its Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the Pennsylvania General Assembly before making the decision.
On Thursday, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf recommended there be no high school sports until January 2021 across the state. The PIAA Board of Directors issued a statement shortly after, expressing their disappointment in the decision, believing delaying sports could have a negative impact on students.
Farrell’s head football coach Amp Pegues is frustrated.
“It’s very disheartening for the kids,” he said. “They’ve put in so much work this summer. Our program is up to 55 kids. It’s been extremely tough on our senior class. Hopefully, the PIAA continues to have the season. We just wish someone will make a decision.”
Last year, the Steelers won their final 14 games, including their thrilling 10-7 win over Bishop Guilfoyle for their second consecutive state championship.
Lakeview’s coach Bill Hickman shares the same viewpoint.
“I hope the right decision is made,” Hickman said. “Let the kids play and don’t take this away from them. There has been enough bad decisions made within the state in the past year and they have the opportunity to move forward and do the right thing, which is to allow us to follow the safety protocols and play.”
The Sailors are seeking their first winning season since 2015.
“When you make decisions behind a desk or conference room table, you don’t see the effect it has on the actual people you’re making decisions on,” Hickman said. “Come on down, and look into their eyes and see. Then you would know. I just pray they do what’s right.”
Wilmington’s program was recently shut down for a couple of days last week after two staff members experienced symptoms related to COVID-19.
Greyhound football coach Brandon Phillian was able to have his team return to off-season training Monday after the shutdown.
“I was disappointed in the recommendation made by Governor Wolf,” Phillian said. “I believe, not just sports but all extracurricular activities, are in the best interest of the mental health and well-being of our students. It’s my hope that the PIAA will not shut down fall sports, but rather leave that decision to superintendents and locally-elected officials.”
Over the last four years, Wilmington has compiled 51 wins and a pair of trips to the Class 2A State Championship game (2017 and 2018).
“The message we gave the team is that in these times of uncertainty, you should approach each practice as if it could be your last,” Phillian said. “Our players have demonstrated outstanding attitudes and efforts all summer long. The kids have chosen to adhere to one of our team beliefs — focus on your vision, not your circumstance — and have remained positive throughout the entire summer.”
Teams have followed the guidelines this summer in hopes of a season.
“All coaches are masked at all times. Players are masked when not actively participating. Players maintain distance when not actively participating. Players and coaches are sanitizing their hands every half-hour. Footballs are wiped down after every play. Dummies and other equipment are being sanitized. These protocols have allowed us to make great progress this summer.”