ROBBINSVILLE, NJ — Winter is coming for high school sports, but student-athletes will have to wait until 2021 for action.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) announced the pushback of all winter sports and the cancellation of all formal winter sports tournaments early Thursday morning following the recommendation of the organization’s Sports Advisory Task Force.
Under the new plan, ice hockey, basketball, fencing and bowling are pushed back to January, with ice hockey practice starting in December due to contractual obligations with rinks. Swimming and winter track and field will begin in February. None of these sports will have a state-sponsored post-season tournament. Post-season competition will instead be sanctioned by leagues conferences, at their own discretion.
“We remain keenly focused on providing New Jersey’s student athletes with the opportunity to participate in sports, and given current health data and modeling, we believe pushing the schedules back ensures the best opportunity for our kids,” said Colleen Maguire, NJSIAA chief operating officer. “The staggered winter schedule is based on feedback from health officials, anticipated capacity limitations as well as the availability of facilities which are used by many of our winter sports.”
Wrestling, gymnastics and girls volleyball will start in March. According to the NJSIAA, a decision on state-sanctioned post-season tournaments for these sports is still being debated.
Additionally, the NJSIAA said spring sports, which were completely canceled in 2020, will start in late spring and will “most likely” go through June.
“New Jersey should be proud of its student athletes, coaches, administrators, and all those who make high school sports possible,” said Maguire. “During our fall season, NJSIAA member schools successfully engaged approximately 80,000 student-athletes across five sports.
"We will continue working hard to make the winter and spring seasons a success as well. As was the case in the fall, the potential for play is ultimately based on everyone working together to keep our communities safe and healthy.”