Hope still alive for shortened spring sports season

The Hightstown High School softball team celebrates winning the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 Championship on May 28, 2019 at Hightstown High School. The NJSIAA is still hopeful for a shortened 2020 spring sports season despite the coronaviurs pandemic. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF
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The Hightstown High School softball team celebrates winning the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group 4 Championship on May 28, 2019 at Hightstown High School. The NJSIAA is still hopeful for a shortened 2020 spring sports season despite the coronaviurs pandemic. STEVEN BASSIN/STAFF

There is still hope for New Jersey high school student-athletes to play a shortened season this spring.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced on April 16 at his daily COVID-19 press conference that schools in New Jersey will be closed through at least May 15.

The governor’s decision to not close schools for the remainder of the year at this time provides athletes playing spring sports a chance for a potential shortened season. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) sent out a memo following the governor’s announcement.

“The return to school date and related public health guidelines will continue to determine the viability of a spring sports season,” the NJSIAA said in a statement on April 16. “As noted, NJSIAA is committed to doing whatever is possible to provide New Jersey’s student-athletes with some type of spring season. We have models in place that allow for competition starting as late as May 25, but given the late start date, tournament play may not be viable. Our commitment to conclude the spring season, no later than June 30, stands. As the governor noted, we remain hopeful.”

On, April 10, the NJSIAA had sent out a release regarding its plans on holding a shortened spring sports season. Spring sports would need to start by May 25; if the season began after May 25, there would be no state tournaments, but conferences and leagues could hold their own tournaments. The NJSIAA stated the season could not extend past June 30.

Before games can commence, athletes are required to practice six times with one day’s rest before they can participate in any regular season contest. A scrimmage would count as one practice, but can only take place after teams have completed three practices. This applies to all spring sports besides boys and girls golf, which the NJSIAA regards as non-strenuous sports.

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