The governing bodies for high school sports in Pennsylvania and New Jersey have issued statements forbidding athletes from staging so-called “captains’ practices” during the coronavirus shutdown.
The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association said such workouts, which typically are organized by the athletes, usually at facilities away from the school, would run contrary to Gov. Wolf’s directive to close all schools in the commonwealth for 10 business days, effective March 16.
“We have been informed that some schools’ sports teams may be organizing captains’ practices or informal workouts offsite,” the PIAA said in a statement Monday. “It’s our position this is contrary to the intent of the Governor’s order and these activities are not permitted.”
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association issued a statement late Monday stressing several points, including a ban on informal workouts organized by student-athletes or parents.
“During the governor’s statewide shutdown of all schools, practices, scrimmages or games may not be held. This includes any event organized by a parent, captain or other student-athlete," the NJSIAA said in its statement.
Both state organizations expressed hope for holding competition in spring sports, pending further developments in the coronavirus outbreak.
The PIAA last Thursday suspended the state boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments, as well the Class 2A swimming tournament, for at least two weeks. No decision has been made on the resumption of those competitions, the PIAA said in its statement.
“As we move forward, the PIAA will continue to work with the Governor’s office, the Department of Health and the Department of Education to provide updated information regarding spring sports and any possible re-start of the winter championships,” the PIAA said.
The NJSIAA said that when schools reopen, the organization will attempt to initiate competition in spring sports quickly, including a schedule for state championships.
“There will be no interscholastic competition until schools reopen,” the NJSIAA said. "When they do, the NJSIAA will make every effort to take advantage of whatever part of the spring sports season remains, including holding championships ...
“A decision on NJSIAA State Championships for spring sports has not been made. Our goal is to provide championship opportunities, if schools are reopened. If we cannot accommodate the traditional post-season tournament structure, we will look at other options and other opportunities.”
In its statement, the PIAA stressed that the stressful uncertainty of the current situation could serve as a lesson for student-athletes and others: