Basketball – NJ High School Basketball Season Delayed by Another Month
The start to the boys and girls basketball regular seasons have been pushed back by more than a month and there will not be any state-sponsored postseason tournament, the NJSIAA announced via a Thursday morning memo to participating NJSIAA schools.
According to the memo, which is based on the conclusions of the NJSIAA's Sports Advisory Task Force, basketball teams will not be allowed to start practice until Jan. 11 and the season will run from Jan. 26 to March 6.
“We remain keenly focused on providing New Jersey’s student athletes with the opportunity to participate in sports, and given current health data and modeling, we believe pushing the schedules back ensures the best opportunity for our kids,” NJSIAA COO Colleen Maguire said. “The staggered winter schedule is based on feedback from health officials, anticipated capacity limitations as well as the availability of facilities which are used by many of our winter sports."
The original design for the winter season set opening day for game competition on Dec. 21, with the season ending with a version of the NJSIAA Tournament that concluded on Feb. 17. Practice was initially set to begin on Nov. 30.
The NJSIAA will not be sponsoring a tournament, according to the memo, but left open the possibility of local tournaments, like the Shore Conference Tournament, held at the discretion of those localities.
The NJSIAA noted that despite Executive Order 196 limiting indoor gatherings to 10 people, Governor Phil Murphy clarified this week that practices and competitions may still proceed if the number of individuals required to stage them - players, coaches, officials, etc. - exceeds 10 people.
The memo effectively ruled out spectators being allowed to attend games. While the 10-person limited can be exceeded under the conditions set forth by the executive order, teams will still have to stay under 25-percent of the established capacity of their indoor setting or 150 people - whichever number is less.
"Practically speaking, this means spectators are prohibited," the memo states.
Ice hockey will be permitted to start practice on Dec. 14 with games on Jan. 4, winter track and swimming can start practice on Feb. 1 with a Feb. 16 start date for competition, and wrestling, gymnastics and girls volleyball will be held back from practice until March 1 with a March 16 start for competition.
"The hockey schedule remains unchanged due to contractual obligations with rinks and the potential for significant financial repercussions associated with rescheduling ice time," Maguire said.
Bowling and fencing will be on the same schedule as basketball.
The NJSIAA memo also stated that a decision on spring sports will be announced on Dec. 11, with the expectation that the final season of the 2020-21 athletic calendar extends through June.