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Home / Sport / Governor Wolf stands behind the closure of fall sports but says ‘I’re just one person’ | Fisni HSSN

Governor Wolf stands behind the closure of fall sports but says ‘I’re just one person’ | Fisni HSSN



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Thursday, 13 August 2020 | 3:06 PM


Governor Tom Wolf said he was unlikely to change his recommendation to delay youth sports, despite what the PIAA says, but described his role as “a person who has an opinion”.

Wolf, speaking at a news conference Thursday, said he had not read the letter PIAA administrators sent him earlier in the week. The governor wants interscholastic and recreational youth sports to be postponed until at least January 1 to prevent the possible spread of the coronavirus.

The PIAA letter asked him to reconsider.

“This is my recommendation,” Wolf said. “I also recommended this summer that pennsylvanians avoid going to the Jersey coast. I’m sorry. This is my recommendation. You do what you want, and the school districts will do what they want. This is my recommendation. It was then and it still is ”.

The wolf did not back down when asked what information the PIAA could provide to change his mind.

“I’m not sure what they could say would make me change my sense of what I believe is the right thing to do,” Wolf said. “They have the decision to make themselves. I admit that I am just a person. Maybe I am the governor, but I am a person who has an opinion on what we should do here.”

This leaves the PIAA facing dilemmas with the fall sports scheduled to start in 10 days. The PIAA had hoped to persuade Wolf to change his recommendation before his board returned on Aug. 21, but the governor’s comments Thursday made them seem more unlikely.

The PIAA already had a meeting scheduled with Wolf staff for Friday afternoon. The conference call was not expected to involve the governor.

If Wolf’s recommendation does not change, the PIAA may choose to postpone sports until January or move forward without the support of the governor and his administration.

“This will be determined based on next week of activity,” PIAA chief executive Bob Lombardi said on Thursday. “It seems to change from day to day. He is the governor. We respect his position. We respect him. We would like his support. “

Despite Wolf’s comments, Lombardi said he remained optimistic.

Speaking at a news conference in York with Health Secretary Dr Rachel Levine, Wolf defended his recommendation on youth, saying he puts education ahead of athletics.

“We are trying to do everything we can to make sure we get our kids back to learning,” Wolf said. “I do not see how transporting the population at any age, beyond the boundaries of the counties will help try to alleviate this disease and get us back to learning. So let’s put (the sport) on pause.”

Levine was asked to clarify the data used to support the closure of youth sports as he only mentioned cases abroad on Monday. Many recreational sports leagues competed during the spring and summer, and PIAA teams returned to off-season training in June, but Levine said Thursday that there is little evidence of the sport’s impact on the spread of covid-19 in Pennsylvania.

“We do not have a lot of granular data or quantitative data from contact tracking,” she said. “There have not been so many activities. There were some but not as we see them in the fall. The kids are not back in school and not in school sports, so I may not have data on that until it happens. “

Levine noted the decisions taken by college conferences to close sports in the fall, and said the recommendation from the Wolf administration was based on “the same data about the spread of the virus (and) about the impact on children.”

Wolfe said he also relied on his experience as a parent of former PIAA athletes, recalling groups of international runners during races and spectators gathered near the finish line.

“If I were to prioritize my family, I think I would put education up there over the cross country,” he said.

Wolf’s comments about the cross country could cloud hopes that he will support some low-risk sports this fall, if not football or soccer. Lombardi said Thursday: “Our hope is to get as many sports as possible for as many students as possible.”

PIAA sponsors country, football, field hockey, golf, soccer, girls tennis, girls volleyball, and water polo in the fall.

When asked about allowing low-contact sports, Wolf said: “I have an open mind. I made a recommendation. It is the recommendation I would make to my wife, both of us, if we were to make a decision for our daughters. I think this is the way we should think as pennsylvanians. “

Chris Harlan is a Tribune Review Staff Writer. You can contact Chris by email at charlan@tribweb.com or via Twitter.




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