The MIAA Board of Directors on Wednesday, Aug. 19 approved a plan that creates a four-season athletic school year for 2020-21.
While football and competitive cheer will not compete this fall, it does allow for other fall sports like soccer, field hockey, cross country, golf, girls swimming and girls volleyball to take place.
Practices for approved Fall I sports can begin no earlier than Friday, Sept. 18, and the Fall I season would go through Nov. 20. There will not be state championship competitions this year.
The Winter season would run Nov. 30-Feb. 21, the new Fall II season (which includes football) from Feb. 22-April 25, and Spring from April 26-July 3.
Football will be allowed to conduct lower-risk practices this fall. Exactly what that entails is still in the discussion stage at this time.
A sport that begins play in the fall, and then has to be stopped by individual schools, or leagues, because of COVID-19, can petition the District Athletic Committee to move competition to the Fall II season.
The higher risk sports in later seasons, including basketball, hockey, wrestling, boys’ lacrosse, and rugby, will continue to be evaluated going forward.
The MIAA announced on Tuesday, July 21 that it was pushing back the start date of fall sports in the state until at least Monday, Sept. 14. The main two reasons for the pushed back start date: 1). they wanted to guard against possible COVID-19 infections before the start of classes; 2.) the need to get schools open first before allowing sports to begin.
The Task Force now recommends that Boys and Girls Soccer, Fall Gymnastics, Boys and Girls Cross Country, field hockey, girls volleyball, and girls swimming can take place. Soccer had been classified as “high risk” in the original Phase 3 re-opening plan in June. It has been since bumped to “moderate risk. Moderate risk is deemed sports “that involve intermittent close proximity, or limited, incident physical conduct between participants.” Field hockey and volleyball are also in this category.
Because football would begin in late February, the traditional “spring sports” season would be bumped back to April 26 and go to July 3. This past spring’s spring season was totally cancelled by the MIAA due to the pandemic.
Spring sports include baseball, softball, boys and girls lacrosse, boys and girls tennis, boys volleyball, boys and girls outdoor track, rugby, sailing, girls golf and crew. So if this proposed plan goes through, they will get a later start which will give those sports the benefit of nicer weather.