The PIAA says the Wolf administration's recommendation "has a potential negative impact" on student's health and "the unintended consequences of cancelling fall sports" need to be reviewedBy Chris Hoffman

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) – Fall sports aren’t canceled yet.

The PIAA is asking Gov. Wolf and his administration to work with them and discuss fall sports. Until then, mandatory fall sports activities are on pause.

The board of directors met Friday to discuss the state’s recommendation that school and recreational youth sports be postponed until 2021.

They say “the unintended consequences of canceling fall sports need to be further reviewed.”

“The Board believes that the Governor’s strong recommendation to delay sports to Jan. 1, 2021, has a potential negative impact on the students’ physical, social, emotional and mental health. These issues along with the financial inability of many students to participate in any other form of non-school based athletic programs affect all students directly and indirectly,” a statement reads.

The PIAA says it remains committed to providing a season during the 2020-21 school year: “Consistent with the advice of the PIAA Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, PIAA continues to believe it can safely sponsor fall sports.”

The board of directors will meet again on Aug. 21. Until then, voluntary workouts can continue but mandatory fall sports activities will be paused for two weeks.

The Wolf administration provided the guidance Thursday, saying it wasn’t an order or a mandate, but a strong recommendation made by the departments of health and education.

“As with deciding whether students should return to in-person classes, remote learning or a blend of the two this fall, school administrators and locally elected school boards should make decisions on sports,” a press release from the governor’s office said.

The PIAA said it was “tremendously disappointed” by the decision and schools have worked hard on creating plans to safely allow sports.

The administration pointed out Thursday that gathering limits remain unchanged — no more than 25 people are allowed to gather indoors, and no more than 250 outdoors. In Allegheny County, the outdoor limit is 50.

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The state’s recommendation doesn’t apply to professional or collegiate sports.

KDKA’s Chris Hoffman spoke to a few coaches Friday who say they were caught off caught when the governor made his recommendation Thursday.

Coaches understand the concerns of the governor but say schools are following safety measures to try and keep student-athletes safe. They add fall sports especially high school football are big in our area.

“They’re ready to go. My kids are working hard as ever. They’re looking forward to having a season,” says Clairton football coach Wayne Wade Jr.

“They need to have a season. They’ve been put through a lot. Some didn’t participate last spring. They should have a season this year,” says Bishop Canevin football defensive coordinator Andrew Baker.

Before this, the PIAA had decided to move forward with fall sports as scheduled but offered flexibility to schools, leagues and conferences to begin contests later. Using that information, the WPIAL decided to use a “hybrid start,” meaning there would be different start dates for different sports.

The WPIAL said in a press release that it “has and will continue to support high school athletics and surrounding activities.” The WPIAL says it needs to review recent events and will hold a press conference Monday.

You can read more information about the administration’s recommendation here.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.