With the increased spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Pennsylvania, the PIAA is taking preventative measures in order to help keep athletes and others safe from the spreading of the disease.
With the confirmed cases moving throughout Pennsylvania, the Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Wolfe has made the decision to close school for at least two weeks, ending on Monday, March 30.
With the decision to close schools, all sporting events and practices have also been canceled in conjunction with the school closings.
The PIAA also announced this past week that the State playoffs are postponed for basketball and the 2A swimming for a minimum of two weeks in order to further assess the situation.
All major sporting events throughout the country have been cancelled as well and colleges have completely suspended the spring sports season with Mansfield University among the schools who will have no spring sports this season, according to a press release sent on Friday, March 13.
“While I am heartbroken for our student-athletes, particularly our seniors, I support President Patterson and the BOD of the PSAC as they prioritize the health and safety of all PSAC student-athletes,” director of athletics Peggy Carl said. “As Mountaineers, we value grit and determination and know that we will be back better and stronger than ever. Once a Mountie, always a Mountie.”
With a slew of colleges already cancelling on-campus activities and classes to help prevent the disease, the PIAA is taking into account how crowded areas can have an effect on the potential spread of the disease.
According to the PIAA District 4 website, “The Board of Directors’ are committed to promoting an environment of healthy athletic competition that is consistent with current health department and the Center for Disease Control guidelines.” as stated by PIAA Executive Director Dr. Robert A. Lombardi.
With all of the Tioga County teams already finished with their winter sports, there are still teams around Pennsylvania who are directly impacted by the postponement and possible cancelling of the State playoffs.
The Coudersport Lady Falcons are coming off another State playoff victory this past week, and were slated for another playoff game this weekend until the news broke of the postponement.
“The news really started to develop when we were on our way back from the win,” Assistant Coach Troy Stimaker said.
With school functions all cancelled, the Lady Falcons basketball team will not be allowed to practice in an organized school function setting.
Athletic director of Coudersport John Sherry also weighed in on what the schools and athletic departments are doing in order to try and be prepared for a spread of the virus to our area.
Sherry believes that it’s important to get ahead of things and that Coudersport is doing everything they can to remain informed and vigilant as things progress.
As things become more and more serious in terms of how the disease is spreading and how it will affect future sports in the area, Sherry seems to think that it almost will certainly have an effect on the spring sports season.
“I definitely believe it will have an impact on the spring season, we don’t know how things will progress but I do think that it could affect the spring sports season,” Sherry weighed in just days before the postponement of the spring sports season.
With uncertainty swirling around the remainder of the State playoffs, it can have an emotional or psychological effect on a team and their mentality, but Coudersport is lucky to have a group of girls who are doing their best to not let any impending cancellations distract them, according to coach Stimaker.
Modifications to the tournaments will include limiting team and spectator parties, health recertification by authorized medical professionals and changes to game day procedures. Additional direction to competing schools will be provided over the coming days in consultation with school administrators, local, state health and governmental authorities.
There has been little to no other information provided in respect to spring sports in the NTL and what will be decided by those in charge in regards to the possible cancellation of the season.
As information continues to be dispersed, the image of how the coronavirus will affect Pennsylvania/local sports will become more clear.