NEW JERSEY -- The NJSIAA, the governing body for high school sports in the state of New Jersey, in its latest update on the coronavirus (COVID-19), announced that there will be no interscholastic athletic competitions until schools reopen.
If and when classroom instruction in school resumes, the NJSIAA will make every effort to salvage whatever part of the spring sports season remains, including holding championships. The agency remains committed to providing student-athletes as many opportunities as possible.
"We are all holding out hope to put something together for the spring. No one wants to pull the plug on the season," said Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School athletic director Ryan Miller in a phone interview with TAPintoSPF. "You don't want to pull it now and then go back and realized we could have put together some type of schedule."
"I've started putting together schedules for the fall. Coaches are using apps to stay in touch with the athletes and give them at-home workouts. I've reminded them that for some of these kids, they are a very important positive influence on them," Miller said.
Meanwhile, the coaches and phys ed instructors are taking classes on subjects ranging including how to spot ACL injuries, developing sportsmanship, mental health awareness, and identifying usage of performance-enhacing drugs.
NJSIAA has compiled a list of FAQs to address questions about spring sports seasons in New Jersey. (Events, of course, are changing rapidly.)
Can a school or coach continue with practices scrimmages, or games during the statewide school shutdown?
No. The statewide shutdown of all schools means that no coach may conduct practices, scrimmages, or games.
Can practices, scrimmages, or games be organized or directed by parents or by student-athletes themselves?
No. The ban applies to any event organized by a parent, team captain, or other student-athlete.
Can school facilities be used for practices, scrimmages, or games?
No. The statewide shutdown of schools includes athletic facilities.
If/when, spring sports are reinstated, what health and safety guidelines will be in place?
NJSIAA currently requires six days of practice and one day of rest before competing in interscholastic competition in a strenuous sport. Boys and girls golf are considered non-strenuous sports and are therefore not subject to this rule. The NJSIAA Heat Participation Policy must be followed in all spring sports, visit www.njsiaa.org/sports-medicine.
What is the status of NJSIAA State Championships for spring sports?
A decision on NJSIAA State Championships for spring sports has not yet been made. The agency's goal is to provide championship events, if schools are reopened. If the traditional post-season tournament structure can not be created, the governing body will look at other options. The health, safety, and welfare of student-athletes is always NJSIAA's top priority. As the agency assesses its available options, please note that the dates, locations, and qualification requirements currently included in each sport’s tournament regulations will be subject to change.
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