MIAA pushes fall sports start date to Sept. 14

Jul 23, 2020 by

Published July 23, 2020

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors held a virtual meeting Tuesday to discuss a variety of topics, most notably options for the state’s high school fall sports season.

While no concrete decisions about specific sports were made, the board heard a proposal from the MIAA COVID-19 Task Force and, per their recommendation, passed a proposal to push the fall sports start date to Sept. 14.

The Task Force has met every week to plan for a proposal to send to the board.

The fall season typically starts with two weeks of preseason tryouts, practices and exhibition games in August.

The MIAA will monitor the state’s guidelines along with athletic decisions made at the high school level in other states. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association recently announced a three-phase plan with the start of their season to be Sept. 14 and games beginning on Oct. 1 for most sports. Massachusetts will likely adopt a similar plan with preseason time scheduled into the month of September and games beginning in October.

That start date would be for any sports deemed to be viable based on state guidelines.

The decision to delay the start date is more about getting used to new rules and best practices to play sports as safely as possible.

One main takeaway from the meeting is the state will have the final call on what sports might be allowed to play.

The COVID-19 Task Force will now review general Covid-19 health and safety guidelines developed by the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee when the final draft is complete.

They will then arrive at a recommendation for the fall season and beyond when the joint guidelines for youth and K-12 sports are released from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).

A motion passed that the MIAA Board of Directors convene three business days after the release of those joint guidelines published by DESE and EEA.

The Task Force made their recommendations based on multiple factors including the actions of other states and a survey to school officials throughout Massachusetts of which they received more than 1,000 responses.

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