New Jersey high school winter sports competition to begin after New Year, hockey practice starts in December

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TRENTON, New Jersey -- The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association's Sports Advisory Task Force, the statewide group of athletic administrators tasked with developing return-to-play protocols for New Jersey high school sports, issued its final plan for the winter sports season on Thursday.

Competition for all winter sports will begin after the New Year.

NJSIAA officials said ice hockey may start practicing on December 14, 2020.

Basketball, fencing and bowling may start practicing on January 11, 2021.

Swimming and winter track & field may start practicing on February 1.

Gymnastics, girls' volleyball, and wrestling may start practicing on March 1.

NJSIAA said post-season play is under consideration and will be determined at a later date for wrestling, gymnastics, and girls volleyball - the sports that start practicing in March.

"There will be no NJSIAA-sponsored post-season for any other winter sports. Post-season play may be hosted locally by participating leagues and conferences, at their own discretion," officials said.

The Sports Advisory Task Force is still finalizing the spring season schedule.

"The Sports Advisory Task Force remains committed to providing as complete of a spring season as possible and will release final spring sports season plans on or before Friday, December 11, 2020," officials said.

The NJSIAA said the spring season is likely to extend through June.

Indoor practices and competitions are limited to 10 persons in New Jersey; 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," the NJSIAA said.

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