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PIAA meets with Gov. Tom Wolf’s office

The PIAA and Gov. Tom Wolf’s office met Friday afternoon to discuss fall athletics. The meeting comes a week after the PIAA voted to postpone the start of fall sports to Aug. 24.

The postponement was in order to meet with the governor’s office and create a dialogue.

The PIAA and representatives of the governor’s office discussed different scenarios, which includes school’s health and sport’s safety strategies, local liability protection and options for moving ahead with fall sports, the statement noted.

The PIAA’s statement said that the governor’s staff “repeatedly indicated this is a local school decision.”

According to the PIAA’s statement Friday, the organization is concerned that the governor’s “strong” recommendation last week and comments Thursday in Wolf’s press conference “were not based upon Pennsylvania sports specific data and the recommendation has been perceived as a mandate by member schools.”

“The governor made his recommendation, not an order or mandate, for schools to postpone the fall sports schedule. The administration left the decision to the local schools and the PIAA,” the governor’s office said Friday.

The PIAA also stated that the organization is aware the negative impact postponement of fall sports will have on the 350,000 student-athletes and their families.

“We will continue to be advocates for athletic activities that promote health, and safety, social, emotional and mental well-being of student-athletes,” PIAA executive director Dr. Robert Lombardi said.

“The PIAA has taken a measured approach in a step-by-step basis to assist our membership in in developing Return to Competition Guidelines that will assist in providing schools with a framework to develop best practices for a safe return to play,” the PIAA’s statement said.

The PIAA’s Board of Directors will meet again Friday to discuss the starting of fall sports.

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