On Wednesday we finally got some clarity on the state of high risk fall sports as the New York State Public High School Athletic Association officially announced that football, volleyball and cheerleading would be played in the spring. Those sports will be able to begin practicing on March 1st while the start of the traditional spring sports season has been pushed to April 19th. Now that a decision has been made, local football coaches are eager to start working towards their spring season.

 “With the start being the 21st of September we weren’t sure if we were going to be playing games,” says Susquehanna Valley Head Football Coach Mike Ford. “We weren’t sure what practices would look like, if it would resemble football as we know it. I guess the hope is, that by moving it to the spring it gives us a better chance of getting games on the schedule without the uncertainty.”

Uncertainty is the perfect word to describe much of the last few months, especially in the realm of school sports in New York State. Maine-Endwell Head Football Coach Matt Gallagher is in agreement with Ford that even though this isn’t a perfect situation, at least now there’s a set plan. 

“The uncertainty, the unknown that was tough,” says Gallagher. “I think it was tough for the players especially. Now that they have a target date they can keep their eye on that.”

Ford says another benefit of officially moving the season back is it gives kids more time to get ready which can help prevent injuries.

“If we started on the 21st I’m not sure how prepared each individual kid would be,” says Ford. “Usually you have 8 months to prepare, you have double sessions to prepare for the rigors of football. At least now I get to see the kids before the season starts. Hopefully we get to train together and enter it more like a typical season then this year would have been.”

While it is still shaping up to be a season unlike any we’ve seen before, student-athletes now at the very least have hope of playing the sport they love this school year. 

“The kids need some sort of normalcy,” says Gallagher. “I think this part, coming to schools whether we have athletics or not right now, the kids still knowing there’s going to be athletics eventually I think is an important point.” 

As of now low risk fall sports such as soccer, field hockey, swimming and cross country are scheduled to start a week from this upcoming Monday, but if we’ve learned anything from the last few months that could certainly change as well.