By Mike Zummo
There will be no COVID-19 restrictions at this time and fall sports will begin as scheduled Aug. 23.
New York State Public High School Athletic Association Executive Director Robert Zayas also announced that all 2021-22 state championships are on as scheduled after the association’s Central Committee met last week at Resorts World Catskills in Monticello.
Zayas said the NYSPHSAA staff has started to identify potential challenges associated with hosting the state championships and is working with facility and venue managers and sport coordinators to ensure that the championships are successfully hosted.
Most COVID-19 restrictions were lifted in June when 70 percent of New Yorkers aged 18 or older had received their first shot of their COVID-19 vaccination.
In addition to the Aug. 23 beginning of the fall season, the winter season is scheduled to begin on Monday, Nov. 15 and the spring season is scheduled to begin on Monday, March 14, 2022.
The representatives of the 11 sections also discussed name, image and likeness as it pertains to the NYSPHSAA Amateur Rule, which prohibits a student from capitalizing on their athletic fame. Adjusted language to the NYSPHSAA Amateur Rule is being considered and will be taken back to the individual sections to discuss. Action will be taken at the NYSPSHAA Executive committee meeting on Oct. 20.
“It is important for our association to be proactive on this issue,” Zayas said. “It has become more difficult to differentiate between a student capitalizing on their athletic fame and being a social media influencer.”
The Central Committee also discussed establishing criteria for adding a sixth classification for sports with 501 or more teams participating in the NYSPHSAA State Championships. An adjustment to the classification format was also proposed by an Ad Hoc Classification.
The proposal, which is targeted for 2023-24 at the earliest, would add a Class AAA, which would include the state’s 75 largest schools. Class D would include the state’s 100 smallest, while Class AA, A, B and C would be four classes with an equal number of schools.
Under the current five classification system, the 75 largest are in Class AA, the 100 smallest are in Class D with the remaining schools divided equally amongst Classes A, B and C.
The measure was originally scheduled to be voted on at the October executive committee meeting, but Section 2 officials were concerned that given the timing of the information’s release and coming off the pandemic, NYSPHSAA membership can’t fully investigate the changes.
Section 9’s Steve Boucher expressed concern at a May 3 meeting that Section 9 didn’t’ believe that it was best to add a classification, saying once an additional classification is added, some sections won’t have schools to represent them, and some regions would go directly to the state Final Four.
These items will be taken back to the individual sections for additional discussion and will be brought to the NYSPSHAA Executive Committee for a vote on February 2, 2022.