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PIAA Wants Meeting About 'Possible Options' For Sports

Ralph Wilson
Pine-Richland's Benjamin DiNucci (3) drops back to look for a receiver during the first half of a PIAA, Class AAAA championship high school football game against St. Joseph's Prep in Hershey, Pa. on Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014.

Pennsylvania school sports’ governing body has told Gov. Tom Wolf it wants to talk with his aides about “possible options for fall sports” among its member schools.

The letter from Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association executive director Robert Lombardi provided to The Associated Press on Wednesday argued that school-sanctioned sports are in a better position than recreational leagues to ensure compliance with pandemic safety measures.

“While, due to outbreaks in different areas of the state, some schools may not be able to play some or all sports, we believe there remains a viable path to permit students in many schools the opportunity to participate in interscholastic athletics in a controlled, healthy and safe manner,” Lombardi wrote in the letter dated Tuesday.

A spokesperson for Wolf said the administration has been in touch with the PIAA about having further discussions.

The PIAA’s board on Friday delayed for two weeks making a decision about whether to follow Wolf’s nonbinding recommendation that youth sports be canceled until January. The board is allowing voluntary workouts but not mandatory fall sports activities until its next meeting on Aug. 21.

Lombardi said youth sports have been going on this summer with no COVID-19 outbreaks that he knows about.

If there are no fall school sports, Lombardi said, student-athletes will find other outlets.

“Halting interscholastic athletics will not eliminate the risk, it will simply shift it to other venues that lack sufficient oversight,” Lombardi wrote.

In other Pennsylvania-related coronavirus news:


The state Department of Health on Wednesday reported 849 additional virus cases, raising the statewide total to more than 121,000 since the pandemic hit Pennsylvania. There were 33 new deaths, bringing the statewide toll to 7,385.

The state's seven-day average positivity rate stands at just over 5%, down from 5.84% two weeks ago, while the seven-day average of daily new cases is also down since late July, according to the COVID Tracking Project. The average number of deaths per day has risen slightly.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher than the state’s confirmed case count because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

For most people, the virus causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a couple of weeks. Older adults and people with existing health problems are at higher risk of more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.