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NJSIAA announces plan for 2021 high school spring sports season

After high school spring sports teams were not able to have a season in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) has prepared a plan for the 2021 spring sports season.

The NJSIAA released its plan on Dec. 11 for what is being referred to as Season 4 of the 2020-21 academic year. The goal for Season 4 is to minimize the overlap with sports that are scheduled to be played in Season 2A and Season 3.

According to the NJSIAA, boys tennis will begin practice on March. 26. Baseball and softball pitchers and catchers will also begin practice on March 26.

The remaining baseball and softball players will begin practice on April 1 and athletes in all other spring sports will also begin practice on April. 1.

Golfers will be allowed to start competing in tournaments and matches on April 9. Regular season play in other sports will begin on April 21.

The spring sports season will conclude on June 20, according to the NJSIAA.

“Minimizing overlap and avoiding direct conflicts between sports has always been a top priority of the Sports Advisory Task Force,” Dave Frazier, chair of the task force, was quoted as saying in the NJSIAA press release.

“After the loss of the spring 2020 season, we want to ensure that every student-athlete has the opportunity to participate in each sport they would have participated in during a normal year,” Frazier said.

Winter high school sports in New Jersey have been suspended until January due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to the winter high school sports plan that is scheduled to begin in the new year, swimmers and winter track and field athletes will be allowed to compete through March 27.

The Season 3 sports (gymnastics, girls volleyball and wrestling) will begin practice on March 16 and run through April 24.

NJSIAA Chief Operating Officer Colleen Maguire said the association’s current plan will allow multi-sport athletes the best opportunity to compete in winter and spring sports.

“Multi-sport athletes should be celebrated and not made to choose between two sports they love,” Maguire said. “As a result of indoor practices and competition being suspended … some overlap between seasons is unavoidable, but based on our latest plan, student-athletes will still have the opportunity to compete during all seasons.”

Spring sports coaches can start virtual contact with their athletes on March 1. Maguire said any in-person sports that are being conducted at that time will take priority over any virtual meetings or virtual workouts.

Based on orders from the New Jersey Department of Health and the governor’s office, out-of-state competition continues to be restricted. The NJSIAA said it will continue to keep member schools updated on the state’s guidance and reserves the right to impose further restrictions.

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