Over the past 7-10 days, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association and its various sub-committees have held a number of meetings to discuss a number of items through the different sports.
Starting with volleyball, a number of interesting proposals were put on the table. One of them came from Quincy High boys and girls coach Jacqui Niosi, who co-sponsored a rule change that would address mixed gender teams. According to Danny Ventura of the Boston Herald, this proposal if passed would "equate restrictions for both genders who do not have the opportunity to play in their traditional season because there is no team offered to them." He gives an example stating, "if a male student-athlete qualified to play on a 7-foot-4 and 1/8 net, but does not have access to a team in the fall, he shall not be allowed to block, attack a ball that is completely above the height of the net from anywhere on the court and a jumper-server would have to have at least part of one foot must be in contact with the floor upon contact of the serve."
This topic will be discussed more in a future meeting.
Another proposal was voted 10-2 in favor of it moving on and that states that penalties for student-athletes who violate the loyalty to high school team rules have their suspensions be reduced from 25 percent of their season to perhaps one game/meet/match.
Last Wednesday, the MIAA Ice hockey committee met to once again discuss realignments and again several proposals by the subcommittee were rejected by the MIAA Tournament Management Committee, which according to reports, had many of the people involved on both sides frustrated.
According to the Herald, the TMC "prefers to stick to a more rigid alignment model that can be applied across all sports, relying almost exclusively on enrollment to place schools in divisions with certain exceptions to move private schools and co-operative programs up and vocation schools down, the committee believes that hockey presents unique circumstances when it comes to alignment that simply numbers don't do justice."
“If you do everything the way they want to do it, it just turns hockey upside down,” said Chairman Dan Shine of Arlington Catholic to the Herald.
While no resolution was finalized for alignments, several rule changes were also proposed. The Herald states that the first proposal seeks “giving schools the option of playing 17-minute periods, as currently allowed by National Federation of State High School Associations rules, putting Massachusetts in line with other states in the Midwest that have robust hockey participation.”
“We are trying to do everything we can to get our kids to stay,” added Winthrop AD Matt Serino to the Herald. “Obviously we are not going to be able to add more games to the schedule, so I think this is a good compromise, being able to get kids more minutes like the prep schools are doing. Anything we can do to get our kids to stay and be more engaged in our program is beneficial to all of us.”
The second proposal, according to the Herald, “builds on the two-year overtime pilot program that was successfully implemented last winter, asking that it permanently be adopted into the rule book.”
Both proposals were recommended unanimously by the committee, with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Council having the final say in June.
Other items that were discussed included enforcing rules on goalie masks and possibly going to a three referee system starting in 2021-22. In addition, Falmouth Athletic Director Kathy Burke brought up the “ongoing issue of co-ops in girls hockey'. She said the issue is not only in the “amount of programs, but the amount of schools involved in some co-ops.” Tewksbury and Methuen have been co-op for several years now and in the same league, Haverhill/Pentucket/- North Andover have formed one team, meaning that program is drawing kids from five communities (Haverhill, NA, Groveland, Merrimack and West Newbury).
Finally, a subcommittee was formed with the intention on possible modifications to ice hockey should the season get underway in November. The concerns would be identifying checking, locker rooms, bench seating and masks.
On Saturday, Wilmington High School hosted both the varsity field hockey and girls' soccer games, and per rules between the state and the Middlesex League, only one parent per student-athlete, can attend games this season and no more than 50 people in total. It felt like a Ghost Town.
Last Tuesday, the MIAA voted 10-8 to ask Governor Charlie Baker and his council to consider increasing the amount of spectators from 50 to allow more parents and fans to attend high school games. Baker has previously announced that he was increasing the outdoor gathering size to 100 for those communities not in the 'red' and would also allow for 50 percent capacity for indoor and outdoor performances.
Several of the committee members voted against the proposal, expressing concerns that not all schools have the same size and capability for distancing.
Endowment games were unanimously suspended for 2020-2021 season. These contests have been used to schedule an extra game without affecting their overall record.
KELLEY INVITE RETURNS
Last Wednesday, it was announced by Bay State Running that the MIAA approved the first of what hopes to be several more cross-country invitational meets this fall season with the annual Frank Kelley Invitationals. This meet will be held on October 18th from 10 am-4 pm, but will take place at the Mark Coogan Course in Highland Park in Attleboro.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a handful of guidelines have been announced for this meet. Those include:
This meet is open only to athletes who are currently enrolled in a Massachusetts High School;
Waves of runners will leave the starting line throughout the day. Wave times have been set to allow runners to maintain social distance throughout the course;
A maximum of 12 athletes will be allowed in each wave;
Each wave will consist of a single gender;
The race distance will be 5 kilometers for all waves;
Due to the course layout and the wave frequency, this meet is designed for girls who can complete a 5-kilometer race in under 25 minutes, and for boys who can complete a 5-kilometer race in under 21 minutes. Athletes who cannot meet these standards should avoid entering this meet;
For the sake of providing a competitive race for as many athletes as possible, some waves will be designated for athletes who have previously attained a particular time on a 5 kilometer cross country course. Only athletes who have met this standard should enter these waves;
Only individual entries will be allowed. Team entries will not be accepted for this meet;
Chip timing will be used for each wave. Athletes will be crossing a mat both at the start and finish lines.