The boss of the PIAA is still “cautiously optimistic that high school sports will be played this fall, despite the recent increase of COVID-19 cases in Pennsylvania. But Bob Lombardi acknowledged the PIAA has started to have discussions on alternate plans, including shortened seasons. We’ve had a lot of discussions here as a staff, concerning possible this and possible that, said Lombardi, the executive director of the state’s governing body for high school sports.
Some colleges, including those in the Ivy League, have canceled fall sports in the past few days because of COVID-19 concerns. Carnegie Mellon University said Wednesday it is canceling all fall sports. Lombardi said the PIAA is paying close attention to decisions by colleges, and the organization’s board of directors will discuss fall sports when it meets via Zoom Tuesday and Wednesday. But Lombardi said no official ruling will come from the PIAA after the meetings.
I think it’s just going to be an open dialogue, Lombardi said. “If something comes out from the PIAA, it will be more of the view from 30,000 feet. It will be potential decisions and potential policies. But I don’t think we have enough information yet from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Department of Education and the governor’s office to make any final plans. We really need more guidance and more information from those agencies before any finalization could come from us because, as you can see, things change weekly.
After Wednesday, the PIAA board does not have a scheduled meeting again until October. But Lombardi said the board will probably call for a meeting in late July to possibly make a decision on the start-up of fall sports. The WPIAL is part of the PIAA and follows PIAA rules. The WPIAL board of directors has a meeting later this month.
“I’m still cautiously optimistic that things will start on time, Lombardi said. “Based off what we are hearing from schools whose teams are having voluntary workouts, they’re going pretty well. These workouts that schools are having now are good litmus tests that we have to go through before we can think about being ready for the fall.