PIAA executive director lobbies Athletic Oversight Committee for fall sports season, spectators

Posted on August 18, 2020 in Contributor, Newspaper.

PIAA hearing, June 18, 2018

PIAA Director Dr. Robert Lombardi testifies during a public hearing held in the Pa. Capitol Complex to discuss the PIAA classifications and championships at the on June 18, 2018. Joe Hermitt | jhermitt@pennlive.com

By Edward Sutelan

The PIAA’s efforts to convince the Pennsylvania state government to approve of the start of fall sports came to the PA Athletic Oversight Committee on Tuesday.

PIAA Executive Director Robert Lombardi said that based on data that has come in through prescreening in the state compiled by member schools during the voluntary workouts, the PIAA “would like to move forward with the starting of fall sports.”

Lombardi said he understands Gov. Tom Wolf, who had recommended that sports be postponed until at least Jan. 1, 2021, wants to eliminate risks of spreading the coronavirus, but that his staff provided “no specific medical or research reason that would suggest participation in interscholastic sports inherently increases that risk.” He then added the Department of Health, when pressed by the media, also did not appear to have any data to support the recommendation.

“For that reason, we believe that because of the important benefits that can be derived from participation in interscholastic athletics, we believe that it is at least based on the information currently known to us and the advice we are being provided from many of our schools and medical advisers, it is worth at least attempting to pursue a fall sports program,” Lombardi said during his opening statement.

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