BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Higher risk high school sports have finally been given the green light by Governor Cuomo and the New York State Department of Health to begin practicing and competing beginning on February 1st. That means basketball, ice hockey, wrestling and competitive cheer will finally get to begin their seasons after months of being in limbo.
This is a big win for high school sports, with all moderate and high risk sports being placed on hold back in early December.
The winter sports schedule was originally slated for January 4th through February 28th. With the moderate and high risk seasons to officially start on February 1st, that leaves two to three weeks for teams to play their seasons.
New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) announced the cancellation of high risk championships in December.
The low risk winter sports of rifle, bowling, downhill skiing and boys swimming & diving began their seasons on January 18th.
The Department of Health released these guidelines in accordance to the February 1st start date:
“Local health authorities should consider the following factors in authorizing or continuing to
prohibit higher risk sports and recreational activities as, in many areas, these factors may weigh
against permitting such activities:
▪ whether there has been a more-transmissible variant of COVID-19 identified in the area,
▪ local rates of COVID-19 transmission or rate of positivity, and
▪ local ability to monitor and enforce compliance.
• For all lower, moderate, and higher risk sports, travel for practice or play is prohibited outside of the region or contiguous counties/regions. Interstate travel for practice or play is strongly discouraged and, if undertaken, must strictly adhere to the requirements of the State’s travel advisory.
Travel for practice or play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a
red or orange zone may only be permitted following consultation with the respective state or
local health authorities with consideration of the above mentioned factors. Travel for practice or
play to, or from, any area within New York that has been designated as a yellow zone is
permitted so long as it adheres to all applicable DOH guidance.”
With high risk sports getting the green light to begin in February, that bodes well for the high risk sports of football, volleyball, and boys lacrosse. Football and volleyball are scheduled to play in the Fall II season, and are set to begin in March. Lacrosse will play in the regular spring season.