PIAA District 10 moving forward with original start dates

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association District 10 Committee has decided to move forward with the original start dates for fall sports.

The announcement was made following a virtual committee meeting Wednesday morning.

That means a regular start for heat acclimatization for football would begin Monday, with practices for all sports to start the following Monday, Aug. 17. The first game day for golf would be Thursday, Aug. 20, with girls tennis to follow on Monday, Aug. 24. The first eligible date for football games is Friday, Aug. 28, with all other sports (cross country, girls volleyball, field hockey, soccer and water polo) able to play their first games Friday, Sept. 4.

“This does not mean that every individual school must comply with those dates,” the committee wrote in an open letter to District 10 school officials and board members. “Each school can determine at the local level when, or if, they will begin to play.”

Furthermore, the letter stated, “schools that choose a later start date would simply pick up their schedules at the point of their return. There will be no penalty for missed games. This would include schools that cannot play early season games because of a suspension of preseason practice due to actual or suspected COVID-19 cases.”

The letter also noted that schools that decide to start at a later time still must adhere to the required regulation of a three-week practice time before a game is played, and that school principals must also inform District 10 of “intended or unintended delay or an intention of their school to cancel the entire season.”

However, the letter emphasized that the District 10 Committee, which represents Warren, Erie, Forest, Mercer and Venango counties, does not have the authority to cancel the fall season.

“The decision to play or not to play is a decision to be made by individual school districts, unless a governmental agency intervenes to the contrary,” the letter stated. “The membership of the District 10 Committee, comprised almost entirely of educators, fully appreciates the difficult matters facing schools relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. The concern of all is the safe return to school and, if possible, a safe return of all school activities. Once again, how this is accomplished is a local school district decision.”

Schools, the letter noted, must also abide by the following communication regulation passed by the PIAA Board of Directors in the case of cancellation of games during the season due to COVID-19 concerns:

¯ Schools scheduled to play each other must report to their opponent, in a reasonable time frame, any case of COVID-19 within their team members and coaching staff.

¯ Schools that have any case of COVID-19 within team members and coaching staff must inform schools they have previously played within guidelines established by the Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control.

¯ In the event of the cancellation of a regular-season game, a school that decides not to play requires that the principal must report in writing of the cancellation to their opponent and to their respective district chairman. Also, the district committee may consider a canceled game due to COVID-19 considerations as a non-game rather than a forfeit.

¯ On the topic of the possible cancelation of a scheduled playoff game, a school that decides not to play due to COVID-19 concerns at the district or inter-district level, forfeits any possibility of moving into the next round; for district-level contests, the principal of the school must report in writing of the school’s withdrawal from a scheduled playoff contest to the district chairman; and for inter-district level contests, the principal of the school must report in writing of the school’s withdrawal from a scheduled playoff contest to the PIAA executive director and to their respective chairman.

“Everyone fully understands that everything being planned is fluid and subject to change at any time,” the letter concluded.


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