It’s been nearly a month since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down life as we know it not only in New Jersey, but across the country, too.

New Jersey high school sports has been put on the back burner in the past weeks as New Jerseyans battle to flatten the curve. The basketball season concluded prematurely without Group championships or a Tournament of Champions. The spring sports season was also indefinitely put on hold after Gov. Phil Murphy ordered all schools in-state to close.

Today, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) published clear guidelines on “if, and when, a return to (spring) athletics is permitted.”

“Along with our leagues and conferences, the NJSIAA has determined and communicated with member schools that if competitive events are possible, they will conclude no later than June 30,” the state athletic association said in a statement Friday. “Various models have been established based on potential return dates that range from mid-May to the end of that month, and leagues and conferences will be given substantial scheduling flexibility.”

Here’s a breakdown of the NJSIAA’s plan:

  • June 30 is the absolute latest date that the spring sports season will be extended to.
  • Student-athletes in every sport, except for golf, must practice six days with one rest day. After the first three day, student-athletes can participate in scrimmages that will count as practice days.
  • If athletics resume prior to May 25, the NJSIAA will run “modified sectional tournaments” in late June. Teams that do or don’t qualify for a sectional tournament can continue to play up until June 30.
  • If athletics resume after Memorial Day, May 25, there will be no sectional tournaments. However, leagues and conferences will still be allowed to play games up until that June 30 cutoff date.

The NJSIAA’s plan could potentially be moot. Gov. Phil Murphy has not given a concrete answer as to whether or not New Jersey schools will reopen this spring.

Yesterday, Pennsylvania’s state athletic association cancelled the spring sports season in its entirety.

“The return-to-school date and related public health guidelines will continue to determine the viability of a spring sports season,” the NJSIAA said. “As noted, the NJSIAA is committed to doing whatever is possible to provide New Jersey’s student-athletes with some type of spring season.

Stay tuned with Jersey Sports Zone for any and all updates about a potential spring sports season, as well as features and highlight reels on some of the top athletes in the state.