The look of area high school football will certainly be altered come the “Fall II” season that begins March 1.
How much so?
Section II chairman Bob Dorrance just can’t say.
He still needs some answers.
The “high” risk sports that include, among others, football, volleyball, basketball, hockey, wrestling and competitive cheer, were given the OK Friday to soon commence by the state health department and Governor Andrew Cuomo.
That announcement shifted high school athletic leaders like Dorrance and his football committee into overdrive to prepare for a season like no other.
“Now that the governor has given the OK, how do we make this work?” Dorrance said. “We’ve got to put the pieces together.”
For ‘high” risk sports to commence, the state authorities said their respective schools would require an additional go-ahead stamp of approval from their local departments of health and their district superintendents. So it’s possible not every football-playing school will put a team on the field in the “Fall II” season, which was created as a way to allow sports postponed because of issues related to the novel coronavirus pandemic a chance to compete.
“If you get four or five schools that say we’re not allowing [football], what does that do to the schedule, the season?” Saratoga Springs coach Terry Jones said.
“We’ll start to get some answers in the next couple of weeks,” Dorrance said. “We’ll continue to look at who’s going to be in.”
It is anticipated that the football schedule Section II leaders had put together and had hoped to follow in the fall will be replaced by a scaled-down version for the “Fall II” season in terms of teams playing and the number of weeks they compete. There will be no Section II championship games in the “Fall II” season, which doesn’t yet have an official end date, but will run for — give or take a week — two months.
“We’re looking at five, six, seven games, and a two-week culmination event,” Dorrance said.
Football teams need 10 practices before playing a game. With the elimination for the season of the seven-day rule that mandates each week include one off day, Dorrance said competition could begin as early as Friday, March 12.
Dorrance also said foul weather could have teams playing on neutral-site turf fields — and on Thursdays and Sundays as well as Fridays and Saturdays.
“Who knows what the weather is going to be,” Dorrance said. “We’ll look at contingency plans.”
The New York State Public High School Athletic Association is scheduled to issue an updated version of its Return to Interscholastic Athletics resource document Monday.
“That will give us a starting point with the logistics of hosting games and traveling to games,” said Dorrance, who noted that Section II football leaders will be meeting on Feb. 4. “We have so many different things to discuss.”