NJSIAA hopes to have spring season suspended by COVID-19 pandemic

On April 1, the day that most of the sports for the spring high school season were supposed to begin, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association indicated that it is still hoping the season will take place.

The NJSIAA suspended the spring season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to published reports, NJSIAA Assistant Director Tony Maselli said, “We are not considering canceling the season. We are considering extending the season if that’s what is required to get it in.”

Larry White, NJSIAA executive director, said, “We have not given up hope on a spring season.”

The NJSIAA also issued the following statement: “While a return-to-school date and related public health guidelines will determine the viability of a spring sports season, NJSIAA is committed to doing whatever is possible to provide New Jersey’s student-athletes with some type of spring season. We have not given up on spring sports, and will continue holding teleconferences and virtual meetings with leaders of our various leagues and conferences to assess options. To be clear, any effort to arrange for scholastic competition outside the traditional academic calendar would require support and approval beyond our office.”

In mid-March, the NJSIAA halted all spring season activities. This came after the NJSIAA canceled all state basketball championship games in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

A petition by student-athletes was circulated to extend the spring season into June. Maselli reportedly said the petition is under consideration, but several factors have to be examined such as coaches’ contracts that end at the end of June.

In addition, it is possible that teams can play conference games during the state tournament period if the season does take place.

The NJSIAA has suspended practices and scrimmages, and there is no in-person contact between coaches and their student-athletes. This includes any event organized by a parent, captain or other student-athlete. The restrictions relate to all sports, including fall and winter. Coaches may interact virtually with their student-athletes, including providing workouts or training materials. “However, such virtual contact — as well as any activity that may result from it — must strictly conform to all directives in effect related to the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing guidelines,” read a statement by the NJSIAA. “In addition, any virtual contact and resultant activities must be entirely in keeping with all NJSIAA in- and off-season protocols.” 

All New Jersey school buildings have been closed during the pandemic and are now conducting remote classes. School buildings are to remain closed through April 17, at which time Gov. Phil Murphy will decide when they can reopen.

If there is a spring sports season, NJSIAA staff will discuss options with officers of each league in determining the length of the regular season.