Section II releases winter sports start dates pending state approval

The Section 2 Executive Committee has agreed to begin the “low/moderate risk” winter sport season on December 14,  and “high risk” winter sports on January 4, 2021 in accordance with the Governor Cuomo’s and New York State Department of Health approvals.

“Low/moderate risk” winter sports would include school districts that offer Bowling, Gymnastics, Indoor Track & Field, Skiing (Nordic & Alpine), and Boys Swimming & Diving. Amsterdam offers Bowling only out of the “low/moderate” risk winter sports.

“High risk” winter sports have been given approval to start by Section 2 officials on January 4, 2021. “High risk” sports include Basketball, Cheerleading, Ice Hockey, Boys Winter Volleyball and Wrestling. Amsterdam offers Basketball, Wrestling and Ice Hockey out of the “high risk” winter teams.

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,” Sapienza said.

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.

 “We understand that for a variety of reasons some school districts may opt out of our winter sports offerings,” said Section 2 Executive Director Ed Dopp. “In those cases, we respect and support the individual district decision.”

The winter 2020-21 season will begin on December 14, and run through February 28th. 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 NYSPHSAA 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 February 28.

It is Section II’s 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, Section II will address those circumstances, at that time. With the fall 2 season running from March 1 through April 30, and spring sports running from May 1 through June 30, it is likely that winter sports, if postponed, will not have additional opportunities to compete this school year.

Section II officials have and will continue to distribute the NYSDOH, NYSPHSAA, CDC, NFHS and COVID-19 guidance to its member schools so that they can supplement their individual school district re-opening plans and provide the safest environment possible.