PIAA answering many questions

With questions about coronavirus, there are questions about high school sports.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (piaa.org) issued answers to “Frequently Asked Questions” this week and, due to the confusion and daily changes surrounding COVID-19, slugged it the “first installment.”

Some answers should be obvious, but nothing is obvious in this time.


Q: With spring sports now unable to be conducted this year due to COVID-19 school closure, will student-athletes receive an additional year of eligibility?

A: No. Students have four consecutive years (8 consecutive semesters or the equivalent) beyond the 8th grade year, without regard to the student’s period of attendance. The repeating of a grade for an athletic purpose is not permitted.


Q: Can a student-athlete who was competing in a spring sport (baseball, softball, track, etc.) for their high school practice or play that sport with their non-school team, of the same sport, (i.e. travel or club team) while school is closed?

A: As directed by Governor Tom Wolf and the PA Department of Health, non-life sustaining businesses should not be open to the public. Governor Wolf stated clearly that all sports, professional, non-professional and amateur have closed; this would include travel or club programs. If the Order were to change, guidance may be updated at that time.


Q: Are students considered enrolled and in attendance during the closure of schools?

A: Students are still considered to be enrolled in the school they are attending even though students are not physically in the school buildings. Students who took online courses from another source, but did not withdraw from their high school, are not considered transfer students.


Q: With schools being closed, and students receiving education online, are there any changes to academic eligibility requirements for next school year 2020-2021?

A: There is no change to the PIAA minimum academic standard that a student must have passed four full credit subjects, or the equivalent, including the second semester of 2019-20 impacted by the pandemic. PIAA rules only require receiving credit, so “pass or fail” without a letter grade is acceptable. A school may determine on its own to waive rules or standards that are stronger than the PIAA minimum, e.g., not requiring a GPA or that a student pass all classes.


Q: Has there been a decision made about fall sports?

A: Fall sports are scheduled to begin as planned at this point this time. We will continue to monitor any additional information provided by the Governor’s Office, Department of Health or Department of Education as it relates to interscholastic athletics.


Q: Can out-of-season activities begin on July 1st?

A: As stated in the press-release of April 9, 2020, while PIAA remains hopeful that summer activities will be able to commence July 1, it is still too early to reach any decisions or offer guidance at this time. Therefore, any school-related participation in regards to inter-scholastic athletics remains closed until June 30. If the order were to change, further guidance would be provided.

Q: Can teams attend camps as scheduled?

A: At this point it is still too early to reach any decisions or offer guidance at this time. If ultimately permitted, that would be an individual decision or decision of the school for Team Camps.

Q: Will there be any changes to the rules regarding out-of-season regulations in light of the effects of COVID-19?

A: No. All current rules regarding out-of-season participation will remain in effect.


Q: Will the rule that prohibits all team members of same school participating in a competition within 10 days prior to the start of the sport season be waived?

A: No. The 10 Day rule will remain in effect. This does not prohibit individual student athletes from training/practicing/conditioning over the summer, nor does it prohibit open gyms.


Q: If a student was determined to sit out this spring sport season because that student had transferred and triggered the Post Season Transfer rule, will they have to sit out again next spring post-season?

A. Transfers will not have to sit out again next spring season. This season will count as their period of ineligibility.


Q: During this time, can a school coach provide guidance on the types of workouts and skills that individuals from their team can complete on a voluntary basis from home?

A: Yes. This is allowed as long as coaches aren’t requiring individuals from their team to practice the skills or complete the workouts.

Q: Are cheerleading programs permitted to hold virtual tryouts, where they would review video or watch live?

A: That is a local school decision. PIAA does not have any rules in place to prevent it.

Q: Can coaches run youth camps if allowed to “open the economy” and restrictions are removed?

A: Any school-related athletic activities involving school students (regardless of age), school coaches or school facilities shall remain closed until June 30. If a coach runs a youth camp as an individual private citizen separate from any school association, they would be subject to the guidelines/timelines as detailed by Governor Wolf. If the order were to change, further guidance would be provided.



Q: Can spectators that purchased advance sale basketball tickets for quarterfinal round contests request a refund?

A: Yes. Individuals should contact the school where the purchase was made. The school will determine the best course of action for issuing the refund.

Q: Can spectators that purchased championship tickets for basketball championships (finals) request a refund?

A: Yes. Individuals should contact the GIANT Center ticket office by email at: hersheyboxoffice@hersheypa.com


Q: What is going to happen with the Competition Formula for basketball?

A: The Competition Formula for basketball will be in effect. PIAA will use results from 2019 Championships in addition to results through the 2020 Quarter-finals Championship games to determine which teams have accumulated six points over the two-year cycle. Additionally, those teams identified will be required to confirm athletic transfers they received based on data they supplied to PIAA.


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