Gov. Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 187 on Monday, allowing the resumption of athletic practices and competitions in indoor settings.
The order lifted restrictions on sports of “medium risk” and “high risk,” including football, swimming relays, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball and short track, among others, in youth, high school, college and adult-league settings.
However, Murphy’s order will not supersede any rules put forth by the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association or the NCAA. Sports overseen by the NJSIAA or the NCAA must comply with the rules and regulations put in place by their associations as well as Murphy’s Executive Orders.
Under the order, indoor practices and games can be held at 25% capacity or with a max of 25 people, whichever is lower. If the number of people required to be present at the game -- such as referees, athletes and coaches -- exceeds 25, spectators and non-essential individuals will be prohibited. Under this exception, the number of people in the room still cannot exceed 25% of the capacity of the room and must be under 150 people.
Seton Hall’s men’s and women’s basketball teams will resume full-scale preseason practices on Oct. 14 after the Division I Council approved the Nov. 25 return date for college basketball last month.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging for our student-athletes, support staff, and school communities,” Murphy said in a press release. “After consulting stakeholders and medical experts, we have concluded that, with proper public health and safety protocols in place, indoor sports may now resume in a way that protects players, coaches, and staff.”
Murphy has progressively instituted other executive orders throughout the summer to reintroduce sports as the COVID-19 outbreak slowed. Executive Order No. 149 passed on June 20 allowed for low-risk sports to return to play, while Executive Order No. 168 allowed medium and high-risk sports to return to no-contact indoor practices as of July 20.
Justin Sousa can be reached at email@example.com. Find him on Twitter @JustinSousa99.