Winter Sports Update from the NJSIAA

November 19, 2020

The NJSIAA Sports Advisory Task Force is pleased to provide the following update on Season 2, Season 3, and a newly added Season 2A. We appreciate your patience as we continue to solicit feedback and monitor the orders issued by the NJ Department of Health and the Governor’s office.

The dates for Seasons 2, 2A and 3 below are final. NJSIAA will not make any further changes to the schedule. The purpose of this update is to provide our member schools with the necessary information to allow them to prepare for the upcoming seasons.

Capacity/Attendance

On November 16, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order 196, which further restricts the number of people permitted at both outdoor and indoor sporting events. Under the Order, indoor practices and competitions are limited to 10 persons, however, if the number of individuals who are necessary for the practice or competition, such as players, coaches, and referees, is greater than 10 persons, the practice or competition may proceed. If this exception applies, the number of individuals still may not exceed 25 percent of the capacity of the room in which it takes place, or 150 persons, whichever is less. Practically speaking, this means that spectators are prohibited.

Although we do not sponsor any outdoor winter sports, it is important to note that the Order also restricts the number of people permitted at outdoor events to 150, inclusive of the athletes, coaches, referees and trainers.

Season 2, Season 2A and Season 3

Update Below are the updated season dates for all sports that will be played during Season 2, Season 2A and Season 3. To summarize, for the reasons explained below, the ice hockey dates remain unchanged from our previous guidance; the basketball, fencing and bowling start dates have been pushed into the new year; Season 2A has been created to accommodate swimming and winter track & field; and wrestling has been moved to Season 3, which was originally created to accommodate girls’ volleyball and gymnastics.

Ice Hockey will start practice on December 14, 2020. The Season will start on January 4, 2021 and end on February 17, 2021.

Basketball, Fencing & Bowling will start practice on January 11, 2021. The season will start on January 26, 2021 and end on March 6, 2021.

Swimming, Winter Track & Field will start practice on February 1, 2021. The season will start on February 16, 2021 and end on March 27, 2021.

Gymnastics, Girls Volleyball and Wrestling will start practice on March 1, 2021. The season will start on March 16, 2021 and end on April 24, 2021. 

Ice Hockey – Season 2

The ice hockey schedule has been slightly adjusted to allow for adequate time between Thanksgiving and the start of the season. However, we are cognizant of the fact that many schools have already booked time in hockey rinks. Therefore, to avoid the financial repercussions that come along with rescheduling ice time, hockey will be the one sport that begins practicing prior to the new year.

Season Limitations:

Competition will be limited to three events per week. The total maximum events will be 15 events during the season, which includes league or conference tournaments. Teams may only compete in one event per day.

NJSIAA Post-Season:

There will be no NJSIAA sponsored post-season. Post-season play may be hosted locally by participating leagues and conferences at their discretion.

Multi-Team/Invitational Events:

Multi-team/invitational events are prohibited.

Scrimmages:

Schools will have the opportunity to participate in one pre-season scrimmage, preferably with a neighboring school. When possible, ice hockey teams are encouraged to participate in intra-squad scrimmages and utilize officials for additional preseason preparation.

Out-of-State Competition:

On November 10, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 194 which prohibits member schools from hosting interstate competition in all indoor sports. Therefore, no member school may host an out-of-state opponent or host an event out of state. Moreover, NJSIAA is prohibiting member schools from traveling out of state to compete.

Transfers:

Any student-athlete that is subject to a transfer sit-period will be eligible for participation on Monday, January 19, 2021. As a reminder, those student-athletes that transferred between March 16, 2020 and November 1, 2020 are not subject to the transfer sit-period. If a student-athlete transfers after November 1, 2020, the student-athlete shall be ineligible to participate for a period of 30 calendar days, or one half of the maximum number of games being played, whichever is less.

Basketball, Bowling and Fencing – Season 2

Based on feedback from member schools, health officials and the Governor’s office, NJSIAA is delaying the start of practice for basketball, bowling and fencing until January 11th to allow member schools to get through the holiday break before student-athletes begin practicing at school facilities.

Game Limitations:

Competition will be limited to three events per week. The total maximum events will be 15 events during the season, which includes league or conference tournaments. Teams may only compete in one event per day.

Multi-Team/Multi-Game/Invitational Events:

Multi-team, multi-game and invitational events are prohibited in basketball and fencing. Multiple bowling contests may take place in the same bowling alley at the same time, however, the capacity limits set forth in Executive Order 196 must be followed.

Scrimmages:

Schools will have the opportunity to participate in one pre-season scrimmage, preferably with a neighboring school. When possible, schools are encouraged to participate in intra-squad scrimmages and utilize officials to provide additional preseason preparation.

Post-Season:

There will be no NJSIAA sponsored post-season. Post-season play may be hosted locally by participating leagues and conferences at their discretion.

Out-of-State Competition:

On November 10, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 194 which prohibits member schools from hosting interstate competition in all indoor sports. Therefore, no member school may host an out-of-state opponent or host an event out of state. Moreover, NJSIAA is prohibiting member schools from traveling out of state to compete.

Transfers:

Any student-athlete that is subject to a transfer sit-period will be eligible for participation on Monday, February 8, 2021. As a reminder, those student-athletes that transferred between March 16, 2020 and November 1, 2020 are not subject to the transfer sit-period. If a student-athlete transfers after November 1, 2020, the student-athlete shall be ineligible to participate for a period of 30 calendar days, or one half of the maximum number of games being played, whichever is less.

Swimming and Winter Track & Field – Season 2A

Based on feedback from member schools and a lack of facility availability across the state, the swimming season has been moved to a newly created Season 2A. We hope that more pools will be available to our member schools beginning in February. Likewise, the winter track & field season has been moved to Season 2A. By February, it is possible that indoor facility capacities will increase, and, as an alternative, better weather may allow for outdoor polar bear meets.

Season Limitations:

Competition will be limited to three events per week. The total maximum events will be 15 events during the season, which includes league or conference tournaments. Teams may only compete in one event per day

NJSIAA Post-Season:

There will be no NJSIAA sponsored post-season. Post-season may be hosted locally by participating leagues and conferences at their discretion.

Multi-Team/Invitational Events:

Currently, all competition will be limited to two teams only, but this is subject to change. NJSIAA will continue to consult with the NJ DOH to determine if multi-team or invitational events will be permissible; however, we expect decisions on expanding the scope of participants and/or teams will not be made until closer to the start of the season.

Scrimmages:

Schools will have the opportunity to participate in one pre-season scrimmage, preferably with a neighboring school. When possible, schools are encouraged to participate in intra-squad scrimmages and utilize officials to provide additional preseason preparation.

Out-of-State Competition:

On November 10, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 194 which prohibits member schools from hosting interstate competition in all indoor sports. Therefore, no member school may host an out-of-state opponent or host an event out of state. Moreover, NJSIAA is prohibiting member schools from traveling out of state to compete.

Transfers:

Any student-athlete that is subject to a transfer sit-period will be eligible for participation on Monday, March 1, 2021. As a reminder, those student-athletes that transferred between March 16, 2020 and November 1, 2020 are not subject to the transfer sit-period. If a student-athlete transfers after November 1, 2020, the student-athlete shall be ineligible to participate for a period of 30 calendar days, or one half of the maximum number of games being played, whichever is less.

Gymnastics, G Volleyball and Wrestling – Season 3

Prior to the issuance of Executive Order No. 187 on October 12, 2020, practice and competition for indoor medium and high-risk sports were prohibited. Therefore, in August 2020, the gymnastics and girls’ volleyball seasons were moved to a newly created Season 3. As wrestling is NJSIAA’s high-risk indoor winter sport, per the NJ DOH Guidance for Sports Activities, and based on feedback from health officials and member schools, NJSIAA will postpone wrestling to Season 3.

Game Limitations:

Competition will be limited to three events per week. The total maximum events will be 15 events during the season, which includes league or conference tournaments. Teams may only compete in one event per day.

Multi-Team/Multi-Game/Invitational Events:

Currently, all competition will be limited to two teams only, but this is subject to change. NJSIAA will continue to consult with the NJ DOH to determine if multi-team or multi-game events will be permissible; however, we expect decisions on expanding the scope of participants and/or teams will not be made until closer to the start of the season.

Scrimmages:

Schools will have the opportunity to participate in one pre-season scrimmage, preferably with a neighboring school. When possible, schools are encouraged to participate in intra-squad scrimmages and utilize officials to provide additional preseason preparation. 5 Post-Season: The Sports Advisory Task Force will continue to solicit feedback from NJSIAA staff, member schools and sports specific committees to determine what may be the best format for post-season play. The post-season dates and structure will follow at a later date, however, the post-season will end no later than Saturday, April 24, 2021.

Out-of-State Competition:

On November 10, 2020, Governor Murphy issued Executive Order No. 194 which prohibits member schools from hosting interstate competition in all indoor sports. Therefore, no member school may host an out-of-state opponent or host an event out of state. Moreover, NJSIAA is prohibiting member schools from traveling out of state to compete.

Transfers:

Any student-athlete that is subject to a transfer sit-period will be eligible for participation on Monday, March 29, 2021. This eligibility date is applicable to every winter sport. As a reminder, those studentathletes that transferred between March 16, 2020 and November 1, 2020 are not subject to the transfer sitperiod. If a student-athlete transfers after November 1, 2020, the student-athlete shall be ineligible to participate for a period of 30 calendar days, or one half of the maximum number of games being played, whichever is less.

Spring Sports Update – Season 4

The Sports Advisory Task Force recognizes the importance of providing as complete of a spring season as possible and we appreciate everyone’s continued patience and understanding. The task force will be releasing the final plans for the spring sports season on or before Friday, December 11, 2020. Note that the spring season will most likely extend through the month of June.