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NJSIAA: Start of high school fall sports season pushed back

In a press release dated July 10, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) said the official start of the fall sports season for Garden State high schools is being pushed back by approximately one month in the face of the ongoing 2020 coronavirus health crisis.

Summer workouts for high school student-athletes – which may begin on July 13 – will continue until Aug. 28.

Following summer workouts (also known as the “summer recess period”), there will be a two-week hiatus from Aug. 29 through Sept. 13, during which only virtual meetings will be permitted, and only related to in-season (fall) sports, according to the press release.

Under the current plan – developed by the NJSIAA Sports Advisory Task Force, which is composed of athletic directors from across the state – official practices for all fall sports may commence on Sept. 14.

Competition will start on Sept. 28 for girls tennis and on Oct. 1 for all other sports except football, which will kick off its season on Oct. 2.

Regular season competition will conclude on Oct. 23 for girl’s tennis, Nov. 7 for football, and Nov. 12 for all other fall sports.

Limited postseason play will run from Oct. 24-31 for girls tennis, and Nov. 13-22 for all other sports, according to the press release.

Schools that do not participate in the postseason may continue to play until Nov. 22, with the exception being Thanksgiving football games. These are permissible after Nov. 22, at each school’s discretion. No other fall sports competition will be allowed after Nov. 22, according to the press release.

“High school sports are school-based, so we need to first ensure all is in order with the opening of our schools,” said Colleen Maguire, NJSIAA chief operating officer.  “After that, we can begin playing sports.

“To be clear, our goal is to return to play – while making sure that health, safety, emotional well-being and academics come first. We have a different model than some other types of programs that are far smaller in scale and operate independently.

We have a duty to ensure that New Jersey’s schools and their more than 1.5 million students and teachers, including 283,000 high school student-athletes, can first return to school and their academics, and then participate in extracurricular activities like sports,” Maguire said.

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