MIAA’s Board of Directors voting on winter sports today

Nov 20, 2020 by

Published in the November 20, 2020 edition.

By DAN PAWLOWSKI

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors will meet today to vote on the recommendations of the MIAA’s COVID Task Force and provide a plan for what sports will be played this winter in addition to specific modifications and when they will start. 

This week, the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee reviewed sport specific modifications from individual sport committees and made recommendations to the Task Force. The Task Force then reviewed those recommendations and made a final recommendation to the board.

Some of those anticipated recommendations that the board will vote on today are expected to include: a Dec. 10 start date for the winter season (the original start date was scheduled for Nov. 30), no requirement to start games after the New Year, no policy preventing games/practices over break and no cancellation of any winter sport that is allowed by the EEA and where modifications were agreed upon with the various committees.

The board will then vote on and finalize those modifications. 

It is important to consider that, like the fall season, individual leagues will follow the state guidelines but also have the ability to decide if any sports should be scratched or moved to another season. 

For example, sports like swimming and indoor track were granted approval by the EEA but it is likely going to be difficult to coordinate facility logistics. 

Wrestling and competitive cheer were deemed unable to hold competitions by the EEA.

Sports like gymnastics, basketball and hockey might have the best chances to hold a modified winter season. 

Though specific modifications won’t be clear until voted on by the board today, there are some expected changes.

In basketball, there likely won’t be any jump balls or out-of-bounds plays from under the basket as those will only occur on the sidelines. There will also be changes in how many players can rebound on free throws. 

As for hockey, early reports from the MIAA’s individual sport committees is that the major changes will take place off the ice in regards to locker room and bench procedures. In-game modifications focus on distancing during face-offs outside of those two participating in the face-off and whistles when a scrum involves more than two players. 

Masks will likely be required for all sports except swimming. 

The overarching feeling is one of optimism despite the current uptick of cases statewide. The MIAA seems to be focused on creating modifications in order to leave the door open for leagues to make more specific decisions.

State championships have already been cancelled for the winter season. The MIAA has stated that like the fall, league postseason tournaments are allowed. The vast majority of leagues chose not to hold any fall tournaments. 

For updates on the final decision of the Board of Directors follow us on Twitter at Wakeitemsports.

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