The New York State Public High School Athletic Association said Friday that its goal is to play the winter sports championships once its been deemed safe in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
The NYSPHSAA also said that there are no restrictions regarding practicing or playing spring sports and it is up to the discretion of individual sections and school districts.
On Thursday, the NYSPHSAA said that the winter state championships for boys and girls basketball, boys ice hockey and bowling were “indefinitely postponed,” by decision of the organization’s executive director Robert Zayas.
The NYSPHSAA on Friday stated that: “(Zayas) will continue to evaluate the situation and do his best to determine the future of winter championships as soon as possible with input from the membership and Executive Committee. Dr. Zayas is cautiously optimistic the winter state championships will be conducted for our student-athletes. Winter sport teams may continue to practice at the approval of their school district. If and when winter state championships are able to resume, teams will be provided ample time to practice and prepare.”
The NYSPHSAA added that there is no organization rule preventing a student athlete from playing in two sports at the same time, adding that some sections and leagues in the state do not allow it.
“One thing that I have learned in the past 72 hours, is not to attempt to predict what will occur with this rapidly developing situation,” Zayas said in the statement.
Area high school teams still competing for state winter titles include the Massena boys hockey team, in the state Division I semifinals; the Lowville boys basketball team and South Jefferson girls basketball team, in the state Class B quarterfinals; the Madrid-Waddington boys basketball team and the St. Lawrence Central girls basketball team, in the state Class C quarterfinals; and the Chateaugay boys basketball team and Hammond girls basketball team in the state Class D quarterfinals.
Section 10 athletic coordinator Carl Normandin said in an email that there has been no decision concerning spring sports, adding that area schools could make their own decision about canceling seasons.
Section 2, which covers Albany-area high schools, announced Friday the postponement of all spring games and scrimmages until April 19.
AREA COLLEGE SPRING SEASONS DONE
College leagues announced the cancellation of spring seasons Friday, affecting local college teams.
Late Thursday, SUNY Potsdam announced it was cancelling the rest of its spring sports season and Friday afternoon the Liberty League announced it was ending the spring sports season, which means Clarkson and St. Lawrence University also will not play a spring league season.
The North Atlantic Conference, which includes SUNY Canton, announced that it has temporarily suspended all conference competition and will reassess the situation as more information becomes available. SUNY Canton announced later that it would be suspending all athletic competitions indefinitely and hopes to resume competition later this semester.
“These are difficult decisions that greatly affect the lives of our student athletes, their families, our coaches, staff and supporters,” SUNY Canton athletic director Randy Sieminski said. “They have spent countless hours and years of dedication and work to get to this level of competition. The landscape seems to be changing hourly.”
The mood was similar with other area athletic directors Friday. Clarkson’s Scott Smalling was unavailable because he was with the women’s hockey team traveling back from Madison, Wis.
“This has been a very difficult week for everyone at St. Lawrence, and particularly for our spring sports coaches, student-athletes, and especially our seniors,” Saints athletic director Bob Durocher said in a statement. “While I’m confident that the decision to cancel our spring season is the right one for the health and safety of our student-athletes and staff, our opponents, and the north country at large, it doesn’t make it any easier.”
Said SUNY Potsdam athletic director Sharief Hashim: “Canceling spring sports was a difficult decision. Partnering with the SUNYAC commissioner and athletic directors, we worked to find the best solution that would allow for spring sports competition and provide for the safety of our students and spectators. However, the NCAA’s decision to cancel the spring sports championships highlighted the finality of the situation, nationally.”
Clarkson announced that its baseball and softball teams, already in Florida for scheduled games, would continue to play games when available until their return back to campus.
Clarkson’s women’s hockey team flew to Wisconsin on Thursday night, expecting to play in an NCAA Division I quarterfinal against the Badgers on Saturday, only to find out when they landed the NCAA Tournament had been canceled.
The mood of Clarkson’s women’s team upon arrival was shown in a tweet from senior Caitrin Longeran, a transfer from Boston College who is red-shirting this season but accompanied the team on the trip.
“Absolutely devastated,” Longeran tweeted. “Just landed in Madison to play against the Badgers. Wish there was something that could be done. I love being a Clarkson Golden Knight.”
It only got tougher for the women’s team Friday as it had to make quick plans to return to Potsdam.
According to a tweet from Todd Milewski of the Wisconsin State Journal, Clarkson left Madison on a flight at 5 a.m. and was due to arrive in New York City around 11:30 a.m. The team then had to make a six-hour bus ride back to Potsdam.
Jefferson Community College athletic director Jeff Wiley confirmed Friday evening that all spring sports seasons at the college will also be canceled.