High school playoff schedule up in the air

Superstorm Sandy left sand after the storm surge Superstorm Sandy left sand after the storm surge into Long Beach. (Oct. 30, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / Alejandra Villa

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This week's high school sports schedule is in flux as school districts all over Long Island cope with the lingering aftereffects of Hurricane Sandy.

"We're in a holding pattern," Suffolk's Section XI executive director Ed Cinelli said.

"We're in the same situation in Nassau. We'll have to wait until schools are back in session and then we'll take a look at the playoff scenarios for all sports," Section VIII executive director Nina Van Erk said.

Both executive directors said school sports and meetings scheduled for Wednesday have been canceled as most schools will be closed. With Hurricane Sandy also wiping out school and sports on Monday and Tuesday, practice time and field conditions remain problematic. There are also administrative issues involved with rescheduling games and reassigning officials.

Given that the earliest return to school for most student-athletes will be Thursday, Van Erk called it "unlikely" that any games would take place before Friday. "We'll make specific plans when we know everyone is up and running," she said.

Nassau and Suffolk football playoffs are scheduled to begin Friday, with the bulk of the games on Saturday. That timetable might be in jeopardy.

"The playoffs for football will be scheduled with best interests of the students in mind," Van Erk said. "They need to practice and they need to prepare for their opponents. If that means pushing back games from Friday to Saturday or Saturday to Sunday, that's what we'll do."

Cinelli noted that even Monday games are a possibility depending on the conditions of some football fields where games are scheduled. He cited a state regulation that requires a minimum of four nights of rest between football games, meaning if playoff games were scheduled on Monday, the winners wouldn't be allowed to play their next game until the following Saturday.

On Wednesday morning, the Catholic League canceled its entire schedule through Sunday. Playoff football games will be pushed back to next weekend (Nov. 9-11). No dates, times or locations were available yet.

"We have nothing in place right now. Once schools get back in session we'll have to discuss the situation and figure out what we'll do with the end of the league season and the playoffs," Cinelli said. "Right now, we have no idea the number of schools without power or for how long."

He and Van Erk confirmed that the state girls tennis tournament will go on as scheduled this weekend in Latham (near Albany) and that the Nassau and Suffolk athletes would all leave on Friday.

With Laura Albanese