MECHANICSBURG, Pa. – The PIAA Thursday made the unprecedented decision to suspend the PIAA basketball and PIAA Class 2A boys’ and girls’ swimming champions for minimally a two-week period due to concerns about the COVID-19 Coronavirus.
(Photo Coudersport’s Mikayla Gunn (left) and Sarah Chambers (right) along with North Clarion’s Abby Gatesman (center) were hoping to be able to play Saturday in the PIAA quarterfinals. That won’t happen for a minimum of two weeks now, if at all, after the PIAA made the decision to suspend the PIAA basketball and 2A swimming postseason due to the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)
The decision was made by the PIAA Board of Directors and affects the North Clarion and Coudersport girls’ basketball teams which reached the PIAA quarterfinals in Class 1A with victories Wednesday night as well as a number of District 9 swimmers who were slated to compete in the Class 2A meet.
The Class 3A swimming and diving championship at Bucknell University has been truncated with limited spectators and will conclude at the end of Thursday’s mid-afternoon divining session,
“The Board of Directors, in consultation with various health departments, believes this action is in the best interest of our member schools, their student-athletes, sports officials and the general public,” a media release from the PIAA said.
There are currently 21 positive/presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 Coronavirus in Pennsylvania.
According to the release, the PIAA believes that by enforcing a two-week hiatus of its basketball and Class 2A swimming championships, it will allow schools time to “perform self-assessments” and make “decisions to promote optimal health conditions in their communities.”
“The Board of Directors’ are committed to promoting an environment of healthy athletic competition that is consistent with current health department and the Center for the Disease Control guidelines,” PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi said.
The PIAA Sports Medicine Committee will be meeting this weekend for further discussion.
Modifications to the tournaments will include limiting team and spectator parties, health recertification by authorized medical professionals and changes to game day procedures, according to the media release.
The release also said additional direction to competing schools will be provided over the coming days in consultation with school administrators, local, state health and governmental authorities.
The PIAA’s announcement comes on the heels of the NBA suspending its season Wednesday night. On Thursday, the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC 12 and SEC canceled their postseason basketball tournaments. The IVY League had already made the decision to cancel their tournament earlier in the week and then later canceled all spring sports.
There is no word from the PIAA on how Thursday’s decision about basketball and Class 2A swimming will effect Spring Sports, which are currently in their preseason and are slated to begin March 20.
Full coverage of District 9 teams in the basketball postseason can be found here.
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