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Winter state championships canceled, high-risk sports on hold

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced the cancellation of all 2021 Winter State Championships and the postponement of all high-risk sports until authorization is granted by state officials. Low- and moderate-risk regular season sports continue to be permitted.

NYSPHSAA’s decisions followed input from NYSPHSAA’s membership and executive directors of its 11 sections. “When examining the feasibility of Winter State Championships, it became apparent that travel and overnight accommodations would create a unique challenge for our member schools,” said Dr. Robert Zayas, NYSPHSAA executive director. “At this time, we must prioritize maximizing student participation without a focus on championship events.”

The decision to postpone all high-risk sports until authorization is granted was reinforced by the increase in infection and hospitalization rates across the State. The New York State Department of Health has determined the following NYSPHSAA-endorsed sports to be high risk: basketball, boys lacrosse, competitive cheerleading, football, ice hockey, volleyball, and wrestling.

The cancellation of the Winter State Championships (bowling, basketball, boys swimming & diving, competitive cheerleading, gymnastics, indoor track & field, ice hockey, skiing, and wrestling) addresses membership concerns associated with increased travel, hotel accommodations, transportation logistics and the planning for meals. Venue capacity limitations and social distancing restrictions also make it difficult to ensure the safety of student-athletes, coaches, and families.

“As an educator, I am witnessing first-hand the challenges our member schools are facing each day in addressing this pandemic,” said Julie Bergman, NYSPHSAA President. “It is important we continue listening to the concerns being expressed by our membership when making decisions impacting interscholastic athletics.”

The 2021 NYSPHSAA Spring State Championships remain scheduled at this time.