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Friday, March 13, 2020: Dutchess County schools won't play before April 30

   Leading off today: Dutchess County school superintendents have set the most restrictive coronavirus-related rules thus far for the high school sports spring season by calling off all action through at least April 30.

   According to Hudson Valley Sports Report, athletes will be allowed to practice but there will be no games played. That potentially leaves baseball and softball teams with the prospect of trying to squeeze their regular season into less than three weeks in May.

   It's conceivable that more time can be bought by drastically reducing sectional fields and/or opting out of NYSPHSAA tournaments, but that would be yet another blow to players.

   "The writing is on the wall. You'll end up seeing the whole season canceled,” said one Dutchess County baseball coach. "I mean, I don't want to alarm my players but people above us haven't even discussed with us yet the parameters of what happens if we do start playing on May 1."

   Figuring out sectional qualifiers and seedings could become complicated and contentious if there are huge disparities in the number of games various schools across the section play.

    • Section 11 has called off scrimmages and games until April 3, though some schools have put more stringent rules in place. Roosevelt High postponed sports until April 20, Patchogue-Medford until April 30 and Longwood until May 1. Lindenhurst has suspended all sports until further notice.

   Section 8 has called a meeting for Monday morning to discuss how to proceed according to Executive Director Pat Pizzarelli.

    • Section 2 Executive Director Ed Dopp announced that scrimmages and games were being postponed until April 19.

   "We felt that it was the prudent thing to do to help minimize the potential to spread the virus and protecting our student-athletes and people in the community," Dopp said. "Rather than leave it up to the individual school districts, we wanted to level the playing field for all of our members by making a section-wide decision."


    • In Section 3, all Oneida County public schools have been ordered closed through at least April 13 following the decision by County Executive Anthony Picente Jr. to declare a state of emergency.

    • In Western New York, Buffalo Public Schools teams have called off games and scrimmages until further notice. The Monsignor Martin High School Athletic Association announced the cancellation of games and scrimmages for all its spring sports through March.

   "Since we're in uncharted waters, we'll review it as we go along," MMHSAA Executive Director Pete Schneider said.


   Federation tournament scrapped: The New York State Federation of Secondary School Athletic Associations announced that the traditional season-ending basketball tourna- ment bringing together boys and girls champions from the state's four major sanctioning bodies has been canceled.

   The tournament was to be held at Fordham University for the first time.

    • The New York State Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in Glens Falls that was to be held in conjunction with the NYSPHSAA championships has been postponed indefinitely, the Basketball Coaches Association of New York announced.

   PSAL calls a halt: New York City's Public Schools Athletic League announced the immediate suspension of all sports-related activities because of the coronavirus.

   "We appreciate your understanding at this difficult time and apologize for the inconvenience to all of our scholar-athletes, who we know work so hard and are so dedicated," the organization said in its statement. "They deserve an athletic league that keeps their best interests at the forefront, which we will strive to do throughout this process."

   NYSPHSAA update: The NYSPHSAA reiterated on Friday that its championships in basketball, ice hockey and bowling remain "indefinitely postponed." Winter teams may continue to practice and will be "provided ample time to practice and prepare" if the championships are able to be resumed.

   "One thing that I have learned in the past 72 hours, is not to attempt to predict what will occur with this rapidly developing situation," said Dr. Robert Zayas, the NYSPHSAA executive director. "As information becomes available, decisions will be made in the best interests of the student-athletes we serve."

   Zayas said 11 states have canceled their remaining winter sports championships but he is hoping to not have to do that in New York.

   "Outside of parents, kids and coaches, no one wants to have the state championships more than I do," he said.

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