As 2021 is set to arrive Friday, HS sports are OK to resume as soon as Saturday

by Mike Pavlichko

Governor Phil Murphy announced today that scholastic, youth, and adult indoor recreational sports and practices can resume Saturday. That means it’s Game On as planned for high school basketball and other NJSIAA sports, as planned.

The ban on such activities via Murphy’s Executive Order effective Decemebr 5th was set to expire January 2nd, and the Governor says he will not extend it.

At his regular COVID-19 press conference today, Murphy said: “Given the safety protocols we have in place and the stability in our numbers over the last month, although stability at an uncomfortably high level, we feel confident we can move forward by continuing to deal with any outbreaks or other issues on an individual case basis as opposed to a blanket prohibition.”

The NJSIAA immediately welcomed the news, Tweeting a statement: “NJSIAA welcomes the governor’s announcement and continued support, and looks forward to the beginning of the indoor, winter, scholastic sports season – specifically, NJSIAA season 2.”

Central Jersey Sports Radio plans coverage of high school basketball this winter for boys and girls, with practice set to begin January 11 according to NJSIAA Season 2 guidelines. A schedule will be forthcoming.

The NJSIAA added, “Occupancy restrictions will remain in effect as established by the governor’s Executive Orders. And, of course, public health data still may impact our upcoming seasons, so it’s essential that we all continue supporting the 2 W’s – wear your mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.”

Occupancy restrictions mean no fans will be allowed at high school basketball games this year. Central Jersey Sports Radio plans live audio streams of games this season, with audio being supplied to schools’ video streams, whenever available.

Both the Greater Middlesex Conference and Skyland Conference plan their own postseasons lasting one week, with no NJSIAA Tournament being held.

The GMC will have four-team pods playing the final week of the season, the first week in March.

The Skyland will have eight-team fields with all teams guaranteed three games.

Murphy did add, however, that just because the season is on for now, that’s just it: it’s on for now, and can change at any moment:

“We know sports are important for both the physical and mental wellness of our youth and our other residents. We will continue to closely watch the outbreak data and reserve the right to pull this back if we must,” Murphy said.

Murphy said though he could have pushed the season back a bit further, he saw nothing indicating the numbers would be that much better.

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