WPIAL athletic teams will be allowed to begin heat acclimation and fall sports practice as scheduled — on Aug. 10 and 17, respectively.
As for starting the season itself? Different story.
The WPIAL Board of Control met Thursday and decided to move back the beginning of fall sports two weeks and curtail the amount of competitions in each sport.
“The district wants to limit the exposure of these athletes in respect to the virus,” Butler athletic director Bill Mylan said, referencing COVID-19. “The section schedules will remain intact.”
Week Zero in WPIAL football has been eliminated. A scrimmage is permitted the weekend of Sept. 3. The first date for a regular season football game is now Sept. 10. Football teams cannot play more than seven regular season games in 2020.
Participation in the WPIAL football playoffs has been reduced as well. Only the top four teams in Class 6A will be in the playoffs. Class 5A, 4A, 3A and 1A will have the top two teams from each section and two wild-card teams while Class 2A will have the top two teams from each section.
That playoff format is based on the PIAA offering a state tournament. If there is no state tourney, only section champions (and in some cases a wild card team) will be in the playoffs.
With Butler football playing in District 10 this year, the Golden Tornado will now open the season Sept. 4 at home against Erie.
“Our Aug. 22 scrimmage with Blackhawk and Week Zero game with Kiski Area are canceled,” Mylan said. “We are looking for a team outside of the WPIAL to scrimmage with us that first weekend (Aug. 28).”
WPIAL girls tennis, boys and girls golf may begin Aug. 24 and have a maximum of 14 competitions. Boys and girls soccer, volleyball and cross country may not begin play until Sept. 14.
Soccer teams may play 16 games, volleyball 14, and cross country is limited to 12 meets.
District 10 will begin its fall sports seasons on schedule, though the district has a meeting scheduled this Wednesday. District 9 is scheduled to begin on time as well — for now.
“Other options will be reviewed by the (District 9) Committee over the weekend and proposals will be sent out Monday for vote by member schools,” Moniteau athletic director John Stoughton said.
“For the time being, everything is status quo.”
Karns City athletic director Josh Williams admitted that rural districts stand a better chance of starting athletics on time.
The WPIAL is a more heavily populated district.
“It's a factor,” Williams said. “A greater concentration of people implies a higher risk (of the virus spreading),” he said.