ROBBINSVILLE—The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) remained committed to a winter sports season for the state’s high schools days after Governor Phil Murphy signed an executive order suspending indoor athletic activities from December 5 to January 2.
Issued on November 30, Executive Order No. 204 pauses indoor practices and competitions for youth and adult sports and also lowered the outdoor gatherings limit from 150 people to 25.
The prohibition does not apply to collegiate or professional sporting activities. Private fitness classes or lessons and training at gyms, studios and similar locations are allowed to continue.
For high school sports, the order only impacts ice hockey, which was scheduled to begin practices and games in December. Basketball, bowling and indoor track are slated to open workouts in mid to late January.
On November 30, the NJISAA issued the following statement:
“NJSIAA is aware of the governor’s announcement regarding indoor sports and can confirm that it will impact the start of the high school ice hockey season. We’re hopeful that, with schedule modifications, the ice hockey season will be viable when the state’s pause is lifted. No other indoor, high school sports are impacted by the governor’s order, as all but ice hockey had already had their start dates moved to January 2021 or later. The governor has made it clear that he wants high school winter sports to be played, based on the significant mental and physical health benefits they provide and in recognition of the seniors who desire one more season of the sports they love. NJSIAA looks forward to working with the Governor and his staff in this regard.”
On December 4, the NJSIAA adjusted its season for ice hockey. Teams will be able to play on January 15, with the season ending on March 6.
“NJSIAA will continue to find creative ways for our athletes to safely participate in interscholastic athletics,” NJSIAA Chief Operating Officer Colleen Maguire said in a statement.
“During our fall season, NJSIAA member schools successfully engaged approximately 80,000 athletes across five sports. We hope to find similar success this winter,” Maguire said.