Section II football and volleyball teams could end up competing sometime in 2021, a move that is being strongly considered by Section II athletic leaders.
“If we lose any one of those sports, for any variety of reasons, playing later in the school year is a consideration,” Section II Executive Director Ed Dopp said Wednesday evening.
Football and volleyball were labeled as “high-risk” sports when, last month, Gov. Andrew Cuomo gave the New York high school teams the OK to begin fall sports activities on Sept. 21.
Unlike the low- and medium-risk sports like field hockey and soccer, football and volleyball teams were left in limbo when Cuomo said they could begin practicing, but would not be permitted to play games until a date to be determined.
“No doubt that puts us in a dilemma,” Dopp said.
Dopp and Section II football and volleyball leaders are hoping to get more definitive answers from Cuomo in the coming weeks as to whether the football and volleyball teams will be able to begin more stringent practices at some point in the fall season and eventually play games afterward.
“I am anxious to get back together with the kids on the 21st and get them thinking football again, but there are lots of questions to be answered,” Section II football coordinator Bob Dorrance said. “The way things are now, there’s a lot to be seen.”
“Everything is under consideration at this point,” Dopp said.
And that includes shifting the football and volleyball seasons to 2021 if higher state authorities maintain their current stance on practices.
“We are hoping the governor gives us the OK. If we have to pull the plug, we’ll look at other options,” Dorrance said. “As a football guy, for the first time in 30 years, I am waiting for something to happen. If it’s March and April, so be it. If it’s October and November, even better.”
Dopp said he would like to see all of the fall sports teams in Section II play games in the coming months, but realizes that may not be able to happen.
“If we shut it down, I believe our plan will be to fit it [football, volleyball] into the 2021 part of the school year,” Dopp said. “Probably sandwich it in a March-to-April time frame.”
“The spring idea has been out there for a while,” Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake girls’ volleyball coach Gary Bynon said, “when NYSPHSAA put out the idea of having condensed seasons [in 2021].”
Bynon, who is president of the New York State Volleyball Coaches Association, doesn’t believe his sport should be labeled as high risk by the New York State Department of Health.
“If we are put in the spring, we want an explanation why,” Bynon said.
The NYSPHSAA will be releasing guidelines Friday to assist schools in their preparation for, and conducting of, the fall sports season.