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New York State pushes start of higher-risk sports back to Jan. 4

The NYSPHSAA has moved the start of practices

The NYSPHSAA has moved the start of practices for higher-risk winter sports to Jan. 4 Credit: George A. Faella

The New York State Public High School Athletic Association has moved the start of practices for higher-risk winter sports to Jan. 4 from Nov. 30 due to concerns about rising COVID-19 infection rates across the state, it announced in a statement on Tuesday.

State guidelines still do not permit competition in those sports — basketball, wrestling, boys volleyball, ice hockey and competitive cheerleading.

The move has no impact for high school sports on Long Island. Section VIII and Section XI, the governing bodies for school sports in Nassau and Suffolk respectively, decided in late summer not to play interscholastic sports in the fall and instead play three compressed seasons between January and June with a start date for all winter sports on Jan. 4.

"The NYSPHSAA membership has expressed concerns pertaining to the increase in infection rates," NYSPHSAA executive director Robert Zayas said in the statement. "Minimizing risk and exposure to COVID-19 is a top priority of the Association. We continue to make these types of decisions based upon readily available information and communication with state officials."

Across the rest of the state low- and moderate-risk sports — bowling, skiing, boys swimming and rifle — may go ahead with starting practices on Nov. 30. Many Sections have pushed the start of practice for all sports into December.

NYSPHSAA has not made any changes to its schedule for championship tournaments in winter sports.

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