While New York’s remaining winter high school state championship events remain indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association has yet to broach the subject of what may happen with the state’s spring championship events.
NYSPHSAA executive director Robert Zayas said in a phone interview Monday that the organization has yet to make a move on spring events, and that any decision to postpone the entire spring season would likely come from the organization’s membership.
“This is not a dictatorship. This is not a kingdom or anything like that,” Zayas said. “This is a membership-led organization where we would look at guidance or requests from the membership to determine if that was something [to do]. At this point in time, it seems like the sections are all comfortable with what they’re implementing in their individual geographic sections. Should the need arise, we would go ahead and look at providing assistance.
“That topic of [canceling spring sports] hasn’t even really been looked at, to be honest with you,” he added. “We just came off of making a decision pertaining to winter, and spring is still too early with things that are happening way too quickly to even try to predict.”
Friday, Section II made the decision to postpone all games and scrimmages for spring sports until April 19.
Regarding spring championships, Zayas said that with the number of potential variables that could change the situation, “it’s dangerous to try and predict what could happen based upon so many different factors.”
Currently, the final NYSPHSAA spring championships are set to be completed on Saturday, June 13. Zayas said that the end date for spring sports in the state is linked to Regents exams.
“Usually, we are tied to the beginning of the Regents exam as far as needing to get our state championships concluded prior to that date,” Zayas said.
This year’s Regents exams are scheduled to begin Wednesday, June 17. Should those tests be pushed back, Zayas said the possibility exists that NYSPHSAA could use that time to conduct delayed spring championships, but that any decision in regards to that scenario would come in consultation with the organization’s member sections and schools.
An online petition on change.org requesting Gov. Andrew Cuomo and NYSPHSAA to postpone the spring sports season and allow it to extend into the summer months had more than 27,000 signatures as of Monday afternoon.
“There are a number of variables that could impact the championships in the spring,” Zayas said. “Right now, a lot of schools in the state are out until April 20. If that got pushed back a couple more weeks — let’s say to mid-May or early May — what does that do?”
With the start of competition in spring sports at the very least pushed back until late April in Section II, the issue of eligibility for state competition also arises. To be eligible for a NYSPHSAA state championship, Zayas said, a team must be an eligible participant in at least six competitions.
Amendments to that policy could be examined if there’s a severe crunch to complete the season.
“Those are easy rules that could — and I emphasize ‘could’ with all capital letters, in quotations and bold and underlined — be looked at, should the need arise,” Zayas said.
As far as the remaining winter championships, NYSPHSAA made the decision Friday to indefinitely postpone events for basketball, bowling and ice hockey.
As of Monday afternoon, there was no change in the status of those events in terms of either a plan of when they could potentially be held or a complete cancellation.
“We’re only three days into the postponement, so no update at this point in time,” Zayas said. “I made that decision with the officers of the association. At this point in time, we as a membership are just waiting to see if anything might improve.
“I keep telling everybody that the thing I’ve really learned in the past week is trying not to predict anything with this rapidly developing situation.”
Reach Adam Shinder at [email protected] or @Adam_Shinder on Twitter.