Spring high school sports season is canceled

Cuomo: 'We are going to err on the side of caution'
Section II announced Friday that the spring sports season has been canceled.
PHOTOGRAPHER:
Section II announced Friday that the spring sports season has been canceled.

Categories: High School Sports, Sports

The Schenectady/Mohonasen boys’ lacrosse team raised funds and purchased new uniforms for what it believed would be a turnaround spring season with a lot

more wins than in its inaugural 2019 campaign.

That season isn’t going to happen.

“I’m disappointed,” Schenectady/Mohonasen coach Matt Marotta said Friday. “We’ve got 18 seniors who were looking to get on the field. Now they can’t do that.”

Hopes of a spring sports season for all scholastic student-athletes in New York ended Friday when Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced at his daily coronavirus news conference that schools across the state would remain closed for the remainder of the academic year.

“We are going to err on the side of caution,” Cuomo said.

“I am not surprised,” Section II executive director Ed Dopp said shortly after Cuomo’s announcement that schools would remain closed. “Like I said before, we were hopeful. We have to be back in school No. 1, and that’s not happening now.”

On March 16, Gov. Cuomo signed an executive order directing all schools in New York to close by Wednesday, March 18, for two weeks ending April 1 due to the coronavirus. A couple of extensions followed, the latest of which ran through May 15.

“One hundred percent [of the] schools aren’t ready,” Marotta said. “How do you keep social distance? How do you keep schools clean?”

On Monday, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association and Section II canceled their spring sports championships scheduled for late May and June, and districts across the state were left with the option of playing at some time should schools reopen.

“We were hoping to get something,” Marotta said. “Get the kids on the field a couple of times.”

“The kids were holding out hope for some kind of season. They wanted to put on the uniform,” Shenendehowa track coach Rob Cloutier said. “We’re encouraging our kids to continue to better yourself and keep running. Once the restrictions are lifted, we’ll have some kind of get-together and have a fun experience.”

The spring sports season officially began March 9, and teams practiced for several days before schools began to close and social distance protocols were put in place due to the coronavirus.

“I am saddened for the athletes, but at the same time, we have to keep things in perspective,” Dopp said. “I think it’s the right call. I understand it. There are people dying.”

Cloutier said he believes it was the right call, too, but that didn’t lessen the sting of Friday’s announcement.

“My heart goes out first to the seniors,” Cloutier said. “For me personally, I feel cheated out of time with those seniors.”

Dopp said Section II’s athletic leaders will now shift their focus to the 2020 fall sports season.

“We have a lot to do to get ready for the fall,” Dopp said. “It’s not going to look like it did in the past.”

The NYSPHSAA released the following statement following Cuomo’s announcement:

“In accordance with Governor Cuomo’s announcement today that New York schools will be closed to in-person learning for the remainder of the school year, the New York State Public High School Athletic Association’s 11 member Sections have canceled all remaining spring sports. Sections 8 and 11 canceled their spring regular seasons on April 21st. At present, 43 other state high school associations have canceled their sports seasons in similar fashion according to media reports.
“This week, NYSPHSAA President Paul Harrica will begin the process of selecting members to serve on an ad hoc committee to address and analyze the potential impact of COVID-19 on the fall 2020 interscholastic athletic season. The ad hoc committee will include school and district superintendents, principals, athletic directors, Section Executive Directors and NYSPHSAA’s Executive Director as well as potential representation from the NYS Education Department, NYS School Boards Association and the NYS Department of Health. The committee will convene to make recommendations if needed to NYSPHSAA’s 11 member Sections to assist with planning and coordination of high school athletic programs.”

“I would like to commend the work of the 11 NYSPHSAA Section Executive Directors who have worked tirelessly to benefit the students in their Sections. Many throughout our state were hopeful students would have the chance to participate in high school athletics this spring and return to some sense of normalcy,” NYSPHSAA Executive Director Robert Zayas said in the press release. “Unfortunately, the COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on many aspects of our lives and high school athletics is one of them. At this time, we must focus our attention on the health and safety of all New Yorkers. Please stay safe and stay positive during this difficult time.”

On March 23, NYSPHSAA announced the cancellation of the four remaining winter state championship events and was forced to cancel all spring state championships on April 27th as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

TIMELINE

  • March 4 — NYSPHSAA issues first press release related to the novel coronavirus
  • March 9 — Section II spring teams start practices
  • March 12 — NYSPHSAA postpones winter state championship competition for basketball, hockey and bowling
  • March 13 — Section II suspends all practices, scrimmages and games until April 19
  • March 23 — NYSPHSAA cancels remaining winter state championships
  • April 6 — Suspension of all practices, scrimmages and games updated to include through April 30
  • April 16 — Suspension of all practices, scrimmages and games updated to include through May 15
  • April 27 — NYSPHSAA cancels spring state championships, Section II cancels area championships
  • May 1 — Schools officially close for remainder of academic year, ends spring season

Reach Jim Schiltz at [email protected] or @jim_schiltz on Twitter. 

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