Olivia Dorner South Williamsport.JPG

South Williamsport's Olivia Dorner competes at the PIAA Tennis Singles Championships in Hershey during the 2019 Fall season. The PIAA announced it would be moving forward with the 2020 Fall season, but will remain flexible to keep athletes safe. 

Harrisburg, Pa.—Fall sports will move ahead with the key being flexibility.

There will be regular, alternative, and hybrid starts for the fall schedule and outside of golf and tennis, all fall sports will need to complete a three-week preseason before beginning actual games. Golf will only need three days to get ready and tennis will be required to have a week of practice.

“The PIAA is committed to maximizing the athletic opportunities for students across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania,” the PIAA said through a press release Wednesday. “In addressing the COVID-19 crisis and how it has affected the 67 counties differently, PIAA understands the flexibility needed by school districts to make localized measured decisions, rather than a ‘one size fits all’ approach in addressing interscholastic athletics.”

The statement goes on say that the PIAA understands that some sports might be impacted differently, and adjustments might be made to conference or postseason schedules.

No spectators will be permitted at events in the fall.

Here is a look at three of the proposed starts released Wednesday afternoon: 

Regular start:

First date for heat acclimatization is Monday, August 10.

First practice date is Monday, August 17. 

First contest date for golf: Thursday, August 20

First contest for girls’ tennis: Monday, August 24

First contest date for football: Friday, August 28 (Week “0”)

First contest date for the remaining fall sports: Friday, September 4 (cross country, girls’ volleyball, field hockey, soccer, water polo) 

Denver Beachel Warrior Run.JPG

Warrior Run's Denver Beachel breaks a big run off against Central Columbia during a football game in the fall 2019 season. 

Alternate start:

First date of heat acclimatization no earlier than Monday, August 10

First practice date is no earlier than Monday, August 17. 

Each sport must have minimum length of preseason completed (three weeks is the minimum for all sports except golf and tennis before competition is permitted. 

First contest date: Monday, September 14 (golf, girls’ tennis, cross country, girls’ volleyball, field hockey, soccer, water polo)

First contest date: Friday, September 18 (football) 

Karly Renn Southern Columbia.JPG

Southern Columbia's Karly Renn moves down the field during a District 4 postseason soccer match during the 2019 fall season. 

Hybrid start: 

As part of an alternative schedule, competition for fall sports should begin no later than Monday, October 5 or may be later with a request to respective District Committee. Any combination of the established start dates or the alternative schedule must comply with the established preseason practice guidelines and may be utilized to accommodate the needs of each school, community, and sport.

These alternative plans can be varied from sport to sport. The PIAA Board of Directors is committed to meet again prior to the start of fall contest to monitor school’s preseason participation and any issues that may arise from the start of the fall sports season.

Here is a link to the PIAA guidelines for a return to fall sports. 

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