Harriton Fall Sports Return


Lydia Behler

Photography credit to Zenith Magazine.

At first glance, it seems like fall sports are back at Harriton. But are they really? As of now, there will be no football games under the lights on Friday nights, and scheduled games for other sports are still up in the air. Within the Harriton community, there are mixed feelings about the Central League’s plan to proceed with fall sports, and there are still many unknowns.

At the PIAA’s meeting with Governor Wolf in mid-August, the governor expressed his opposition to having any high school sports prior to January 2021. However, the PIAA disregarded his recommendation and continued to move forward with plans for the 2020 sports season, voting 25-5 to start fall sports on August 24.

On September 22nd, the Central League approved a plan to bring back fall sports, and Lower Merion school district took its side, deciding to roll with it. As you would expect, the proceedings came with a laundry list of rules and regulations.

To keep student-athletes safe, the Lower Merion School District provided a “Health and Safety Plan” that includes different types of procedures and guidelines to keep athletes, coaches, and trainers in safe conditions. Such procedures include temperature checks and a health questionnaire before practices. The plan also provides return plans for each sport, as well as proposed start dates. Practices are held with mandated masks and a very limited number of spectators during competitions.

Despite these precautions, the district did not feel like it could safely allow football and water polo competitions. Football players from both Harriton and Lower Merion protested this ruling in front of the District’s administration building last week.

Although LMSD determined that football should not resume, schools all over the state have already begun their seasons, including all of the schools in the Central League, aside from Harriton and Lower Merion. These schools are taking the necessary precautions, and schools like Ellwood City are limiting fans to 25% capacity in their stands.

Football is a big deal in Pennsylvania and the reaction to Lower Merion’s decision affirms that. Even with the unpopular exclusion of football, Harriton student-athletes are glad to be back on the field.

State Rep. Mike Reese says it best: “All the students want is the opportunity to play and perform; all their loved ones want is the opportunity to watch their children shine and learn the many important lessons that go along with participating in team sports and group activities.”