With hope inspired by the planned release of vaccines to guard against the coronavirus, state athletic association officials on Dec. 11 unveiled an ambitious 2021 spring sports calendar for approximately 100,000 New Jersey student athletes.

According to the NJSIAA, start dates for spring sports will be as follows:

  • Boys tennis: practice begins March 26 and competition begins April 19.
  • Golf: practice begins April 1 and competition begins April 9.
  • All other spring sports: practice begins April 1 and competition begins April 19.

The virtual contact period for all spring sports begins March 1 and the end of competition date for all spring sports is June 20, about a week later than the spring sports season normally concludes.

“Time is on our side,” said Colleen Maguire, chief operating officer for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), said during a press conference on Friday. The hope is that, by the time warm weather returns, conditions will permit a full schedule of spring sports competition, including traditional post-season tournaments.

A recent memo from the NJSIAA to its member schools spelled out the association’s plans for spring sports.

The spring season will culminate with conventional NJSIAA-sponsored state tournament competition June 1 through June 20 for baseball, boys’ volleyball, lacrosse, outdoor track & field and softball.

The fate of winter indoor youth sports remains less certain. An article describing the status of winter sports appeared in the Dec. 1 edition of online School Board Notes.

On Nov. 30, to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Gov. Murphy issued Executive Order 204, which required postponement of all indoor youth sports, including interscholastic competition, until Jan. 2. For high school and middle schools, the practical impact of the order is a delay in the start of the ice hockey season, affecting 3,631 students at 134 schools. The starting dates for other indoor interscholastic sports had been previously postponed to January or later by the NJSIAA.

Executive Order 204 went into effect on Dec. 5 and ends on Jan. 2. As January approaches, officials will continue to assess health conditions and decide how to proceed.