PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association has paused mandatory fall sports activities — for now. This comes as it reviews Gov. Tom Wolf’s recommendation that school sports be suspended until the new year.
The state’s sporting body says it will now pause mandatory fall sports events for two weeks.
The PIAA is also asking for Wolf to work with them to find the best solution forward, highlighting the potential negative impact canceling sports may have on a young person’s physical, emotional, social and mental health.
Around 1:30 p.m. Friday, the PIAA board met to discuss after Wolf’s strong suggestion that there should be no sports until January 2021 to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The PIAA has spent weeks trying to formulate safety and standard policies for their members that allowed localized decision making from individual school districts on how to best proceed with fall sports.
Heat acclimatization activities were scheduled to begin on Monday. First practices for fall sports, including football on Aug. 17.
Radnor School District Superintendent Ken Batchelor, like many of his colleagues, are in wait-and-see mode.
“Everything is changed now today with athletics,” Batchelor said. “Well, going to have to take a few weeks or week to understand what it all means.”
A PIAA board member told Eyewitness News a few weeks ago there cannot be a one-size-fits-all solution because of the wide population variance among its members.
PIAA Update: pic.twitter.com/pUe1ujr8FR
— PIAA (@PIAASports) August 7, 2020
In a statement- the PIAA said, in part, “Based on currently known information the committee believes that strict adherence by schools and teams to their school adopted plants and the governor’s school sports guidance to provide a reasonably safe environment for student-athletes to participate in interscholastic athletics as currently scheduled.”
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz has heard about the commotion.
Ertz addressed the ongoing issue during his media availability on Friday.
“My experience, I was 15 years old, my parents separated, I was the oldest of four boys. The only thing I knew how to do, the only thing I could express myself, I was so frustrated inside, was to play football,” Ertz said. “I focused, all I did was lift weights, played football, played basketball and that allowed me to release my internal stress and pressure I had built up. Tom Wolf came out yesterday with the recommendation that there is no fall football or fall sports in general.
“The adversity that I faced when I was 15 is about 1/1000th of what many kids in this state, in particular, are going to be facing if they don’t have an outlet if there is no football in the fall for these kids, and I would just really challenge everyone is that the decision is no football, there’s got to be an alternative where we just allow these kids go about their days with no guidance, with no further investment.”
Organized sports in Pennsylvania are paused for two weeks as the PIAA will reconvene on Aug. 21st.