PIAA in ‘holding pattern’ waiting for more information from governor

Wednesday, May 27, 2020 | 7:04 PM

School districts in Lawrence and more than a dozen other Pennsylvania counties will soon enter the green phase, but the PIAA remains in a “holding pattern” waiting to hear what that means for high school sports.

Teams can’t resume workouts until cleared by the PIAA.

Gov. Tom Wolf announced last week that 17 counties statewide would enter the green phase of his color-coded reopening system Friday. PIAA executive director Bob Lombardi said Wednesday the PIAA had reached out to Wolf’s office for more information about restarting sports and was waiting for guidance.

“I believe they’re working on information, so we’re in a holding pattern at present,” Lombardi said.

Later Wednesday, Wolf announced that professional sports teams may practice or play without fans in yellow or green counties if the team or its league has developed an approved coronavirus safety plan.

Lawrence is the only WPIAL county that’s turning green this week. The rest will remain yellow, which bans amateur sports teams from holding workouts.

Also turning green Friday are Bradford, Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Montour, Potter, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga, Venango and Warren.

PIAA teams have been banned from working out together since Wolf closed school buildings March 13, a week before most spring sports seasons were scheduled to start. That shutdown was extended April 9, when Wolf ordered buildings to remain closed for the rest of the school year.

The PIAA was forced to cancel its basketball tournaments, swimming championships and all spring sports.

In early April, the PIAA tentatively set July 1 as the date to resume workouts, but the board voted unanimously last week to give Lombardi authority to move that date forward, once the governor approved. The PIAA board decided to let schools resume offseason workouts in a county-by-county approach rather than force all schools to wait for a common restart date.

Along with New Castle, the Lawrence County school districts are Ellwood City, Laurel, Mohawk, Neshannock, Shenango, Union and Wilmington, which competes in PIAA District 10.

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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