All School Sports Postponed Until 2021

Gordon M. Grant
East Hampton girls lacrosse played Miller Place in East Hampton, back in 2019.

All interscholastic sports have been postponed in Suffolk County until January due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Section XI Athletics, a New York State public high school athletic association, announced the decision on Friday, citing several reasons in a statement on Friday; the potential for increased positive cases of COVID-19, the health and safety of student-athletes, coaches, officials and staff members, a reduced number of spectators, a lack of locker room and facility use, increased costs in transportation and security for school districts and equity among all school districts.

In August, the state issued school sports guidelines, giving the green light for low-risk activities, like tennis, soccer, cross country and field hockey. High-risk sports, like football and wrestling, could only practice, but not compete under the state’s rules. 

The Section XI Athletics’ decision was made in conjunction with its Athletic Council, school athletic directors, and its Safety Committee and Suffolk County Executive Board.

They voted to condense fall, winter and spring  seasons, which will now all run from January through June. Section XI will hold three complete seasons for the varsity, junior varsity and middle schoolers. “These seasons will allow for all teams to play an adapted season with a culminating championship event,” the statement said.

“While this was a difficult decision, we feel it was the best move for the health and safety of everyone involved,” said Section XI Executive Director Tom Combs. “We still have a lot of hard work ahead in planning and executing on the three seasons across six months in 2021, but we look forward to the challenge and collaboration with our member schools and providing an impactful experience for our student-athletes and coaches.”

Varsity and junior varsity sports will begin January 4, starting with winter sports. Fall sports will be played March 1 to May 1, and spring sports will be held April 26 to June 19.

Middle school sports, broken up into four seasons, will run about five weeks each, also starting January 4 and end June 12.

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