The District 10 committee voted to move forward with plans to start the fall sports season on time during its meeting on Wednesday. With that said, the fall sports season will begin with heat acclimatization for football Monday with official practices for all fall sports to start on Aug. 17.
Competition will begin Aug. 20 for boys and girls golf, Aug. 24 for girls tennis and Aug. 28 for football. The rest of fall sports — cross country, field hockey, boys and girls soccer, water polo and girls volleyball — start on Sept. 4.
District 10 chairman Pete Iacino did stress that while D-10 has voted to start the season on time, it does not mean every individual school must adhere to those dates. If schools opt to start later, those schools would “pick up their schedules at the point of their return,” Iacino said.
“Each school can determine at the local level when or if they will begin to play,” Iacino said.
The only requirement of schools is that they meet the required regulation of a three-week practice time before a game is played. Should a school have to cancel a game during the season because of COVID-19, D-10 voted not to penalize those teams as long as the school follows the communication guideline passed by the PIAA Board of Directors.
Iacino said such games would be treated as games not played rather than a forfeit.
Another key topic discussed at the meeting was playoffs.
The PIAA has yet to rule on a shortened season, but it is a possibility. Under its proposed plan, all sports would need to be concluded by Thanksgiving.
One solution the D-10 committee is proposing is reducing the number of qualifiers in each sport. For example, only the top two teams in Region 1 and Region 2 would qualify for the District 10 Class 1A playoffs in football; the same for girls volleyball.
Iacino said he is still looking for recommendations to proceed with the postseason in cross country. Officials at Buhl Park in Sharon — the host site for the District 10 cross country championships — have advised District 10 that the park will not be available for this year’s championships because of COVID-19.
D-10 does not plan to vote on any playoff proposals until its Sept. 9 meeting at the earliest.
District 10 also unveiled the results of a survey it conducted with member schools regarding their intentions for the fall sports season. Just 62 percent of those schools completed the survey. PENNCREST and Titusville school districts were the only districts in Crawford County to participate. Both indicated they are prepared to play the regular season as scheduled as did Lakeview School District. Fairview is the only district that participated in the survey to say it does not intend to participate in athletics in the fall.
The Conneaut Area School District board of directors discussed athletics at its work session on Wednesday and Conneaut does expect to play sports this fall as long as long as the county is in the yellow or green phase and with restrictions on what schools it can play.
Gov. Tom Wolf’s office was expected to release updated guidelines on return-to-play Wednesday, including clarification on the attendance of fans and participation of schools who are starting the 2020 season online. That update was postponed.
The PIAA is scheduled to meet again on Aug. 26.