High school sports are returning this fall, although with seasons a little later and shorter than usual.

The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association on Friday released its plan weeks after state education officials outlined steps for the return to school buildings in September.

The plan calls for a shorter season focused on more local competitions rather than standings and records. Post-season play will be limited to sectional championships.

Denis Nelson, member of the NJSIAA's COVID-19 Sports Advisory Task Force, said the season will be about "opportunity, engagement and participation ... not about winning championships."

"To be clear, our goal is to return to play – while making sure that health, safety, emotional well-being, and academics come first," the NJSIAA, the governing body of scholastic sports in the state, said in a written statement. "We have a different model than some other types of programs that are far smaller in scale and operate independently."

The plan provides the following timeline:


Summer workouts — July 13 to Aug. 28
Pre-season hiatus — Aug. 29 to Sept. 13
Start of practice — Sept. 14

Competition dates

Girls tennis — Sept. 28 to Oct. 23
Football — Oct. 2 to Nov. 7
Other fall sports — Oct. 1 to Nov. 12


Girls tennis — Oct. 24 to 31
Other fall sports — Nov. 13 to 22
Schools not in post-season can continue to play until Nov. 22

Thanksgiving football

Must be held after Nov. 22 at each school's discretion

KEEP READING: New back-to-school guidelines

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