The Suburban Council athletic directors will meet Thursday to make tentative plans for a severely shortened basketball season, in case playing one is approved by the New York State Department of Health, as well as plans for the upcoming “Fall II” season.
Columbia athletic director Mike Leonard, who is the league’s president, said the focus regarding “high” risk winter sports will be on “who is competing, what sports and what levels.”
Leonard added: “Each school will make their own decision, similar to what we did with the fall.”
The “high” risk winter sports season — including basketball, cheer, ice hockey and wrestling — was placed on hold in mid-November and continued its pause as the traditional winter sports season’s days count down.
Thursday’s meeting looks to gain commitments or opt-out notices from Suburban Council schools regarding if they’ll compete in the “high” risk sports, if allowed. Then, potential schedules could be created for what Leonard said “could be just a three-week schedule” of competition.
“We’re just trying to continue to have conversations about winter ‘high’ risk sports,” Leonard said.
Shenendehowa athletic director Chris Culnan said his Plainsmen basketball programs were willing to make sacrifices to get a season in, including players wearing masks on the court and playing without any on-site spectators. He said streaming games would be an option to allow fans to watch games.
Thursday’s discussion will also include planning regarding the Fall II season — which includes sports that were postponed from the fall, such as football and volleyball — that is scheduled to start March 1.
Athletes, parents, fans and athletic departments have taken to social media seeking answers and advocating for the start of the ‘high’ risk winter seasons.
The lack of answers has frustrated many.
“The more we sit back, and nothing happens, the later we get,” Leonard said. “Then, you’re not even going to have a shot at even having a three-week [‘high’ risk winter] season.”