CHSAA hoping for a return this season 1

It remains to be seen if schools will be celebrating championships, like Christ the King’s basketball team did in 2015, or if student-athletes in the city will have to live vicariously through their favorite college and professional teams.

The Catholic High School Athletic Association had a successful fall semester with low- to moderate-risk sports.

But high-risk sports, including basketball, cheerleading, football, hockey, lacrosse, volleyball and wrestling, have still not returned to the city.

The CHSAA brought back low- and moderate-risk sports including bowling, gymnastics, skiing, swimming, diving and track and field, with only one Covid case.

“That’s why we’re frustrated at this point and time,” said Dom Vulpis, an executive director of the CHSAA.

“The coaches are chomping at the bit to get their kids back out there because we all know that it’s social, emotional effects.”

The association is made up of schools in the city, on Long Island and in Westchester and Buffalo. While the rest of the state has resumed sports, the city has not.

Gov. Cuomo said high-risk sports could resume, with the decision being left up to localities.

Vulpis wrote a letter to the city on Feb. 5 asking for a return as well as communication to parents and student-athletes.

He told the Chronicle the only thing he heard back from the city was a form response with a number saying his letter is on file.

The Mayor’s Office did not respond when asked if there was a plan for Catholic school sports this semester.

Vulpis said students are missing the psychological impact of sports as they would learn to deal with life and have an outlet for recreation.

The toughest part, for Vulpis, has been “to see the kids out there without being able to play.”

He said as an administrator, he’s used to providing for kids.

“Not being able to do that because we’re being held up by an outside source really is the frustrating part,” he said. “That’s the hardest part to accept.”

Archbishop Molloy High School Athletic Director Michael McCleary said he would like an answer from the city on whether sports will resume.

“The fact that nothing’s being said leads to a lot of anxiety on our part because we just don’t know what to plan for,” he said, calling the situation “extremely frustrating.”

McCleary added, “We want to follow the regulations and we want to give the kids a season that they all want but we can’t do that without getting an answer from the Mayor’s Office.”

Vulpis said students have not been transferring outside of the city in order to play. In fact, Public School Athletic League students had transferred to Catholic schools last semester when all the public schools were closed for safety measures.

He also said that if the kids get to play with a delayed start, it could mean a shortened playoff format with more regular-season games.

“We know what the kids need is to be out there to play so we didn’t want to exclude three-quarters of the kids just to get a playoff system in,” Vulpis said.

Perhaps there will still be student-athletes celebrating championships in the end.

“It’s the hope that we’re providing for kids,” Vulpis said. “It’s all for the kids.”

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