High School Sports Shut Down


courtesy of NJSIAA

The State wide schedule put into place for the start of winter sports.

Christopher Digricoli, Staff Writer

As expected, the state of New Jersey halted the start of winter sports.  An email sent out on Dec. 1 included the dates of when sport tryouts and practices can resume. Ice Hockey and Winter Cheer – January 4, 2021. Basketball HS/MS –  January 11, 2021. Swimming and Winter Track & Field – February 1, 2021. Gymnastics, Girls Volleyball and Wrestling HS/MS – March 1, 2021.

For the 2020-2021 High School sports season, the NJSIAA divided them into five seasons instead of the normal three, Fall Winter and Spring. Season 1 was the normal Fall Sports, except for Girls Volleyball and Gymnastics. Season 2 includes Ice Hockey, Basketball, Bowling and Fencing. Season 2A is Swimming and Winter Track with season 3 being Girls Volleyball and Gymnastics, the sports that had to be cancelled in the fall. Season 4 is Spring sports as of today, December 4. Each season is a little shorter than a month and a half long. They are limited to three events per week or 15 events during their season which include league and conference tournaments, no state tournaments.

Now these postponements were well expected with the cases of Covid-19 quickly escalating throughout the state of New Jersey. However, players and fans are confused onto why certain sports are allowed back sooner than others. Take Ice Hockey for example, contact between you and the other team is almost inevitable and they get to resume practices almost a month before Swim which is already separated and contact less.

NJSIAA released a statement explaining this odd scheduling, “The staggered winter schedule is based on feedback from the health officials, anticipated capacity limitations as well as the availability of the facilities which are used by many of our winter sports. The hockey schedule remains unchanged due to contractual obligations with rinks and the potential for significant financial repercussions associated with rescheduling ice time.”

Along with these start dates, regulations are put into place such as a ten person limit to practices or competition, unless the sport requires more than ten participants. The 25% or 150 persons rule is still in effect if the sport requires more than 10 persons. Spectators are prohibited.

As for the spring season, the NJSIAA is very hopeful and “committed” for a strong spring season. More updates are to come as the state and country progress through these tough times. For more information, visit NJISSA.org.