August 19, 2020 by Joshua Ross (photo by Joshua Ross)
After months of waiting, the MIAA Board of Directors voted on Wednesday to go ahead with high school sports. Based on recommendations from the MIAA's COVID-19 Task Force, the state's COVID-19 working group, and DESE, the BOD voted on a number of items in an attempt to have sports this year, beginning September 18.
There are many rules and regulations, guidelines, and safety procedures that have to be followed in order for games to take place. All groups involved worked hard to make sure all sports will have a chance to be played, even if it's a shortened season and not at their regular time of year.
Hingham High School's Athletic Director Jim Quatromoni, a member of the MIAA's COVID-19 task force, says today's meeting "couldn't have gone any better. Exactly what we hoped for." He goes on to say, "(the task force) wanted to be as equitable as we could and give every sport a chance to play."
The next step for HHS Athletics is to meet with the league this Friday to start putting together the (fall) schedules. After that, the schools will wait for more guidance on modifications on each sport from the MIAA sports medicine committee. Once those are approved by the BOD on Sept 1, professional development for all parties involved will need to take place.
One of the sports impacted the most will be football. HHS Varsity Football Captain Charlie Crean says they are happy to just get on the field this year.
"Things will definitely be different this season," Crean tells the Anchor. "We will have fall practices and playing games in Feb in frigid temperatures. We will be more focused on the the season though."
The schedule may also look different this year with out-of-league opponents. MIAA recommended schools make the schedule based on league and geographic locations meaning they might be facing teams they don't regularly play.
"We love rivalry games, but we'll play anybody," Crean says. "It will be different playing teams that we never faced before with new schemes and looks, but in the end, we just want to play football."
Another significant change approved is the allowance of out-of-season coaching. Normally, coaches are not allowed to have any formal coaching (practices) during their offseason. However, today's vote means as long as the principal approves it and the team follows the EEA protocols, teams can practice anytime between Sept. 18 and July 3.
When the Anchor asked Quatromoni about this change, he said, "It makes no sense to become the wild, wild, west out there. We will meet with the coaches to set priorities and schedules. We don't need to put the kids in difficult situations having to choose what sport to play."
He explains that the board may have "missed the boat" on the intent of the recommendation, which was to give the less fortunate towns, where kids might need the athlete/coach interaction, the ability to meet with their coaches earlier than normal.
The following items were voted on during the meeting:
- Voted 24-0 to approve Fall sports start date on September 18, 2020
- Voted 24-0 to approve recommendations from MIAA's Sports Medicine Committee
- Voted 23-0 to approve the following season schedules
- Fall Sports: Sept 18th - Nov 20th - Boys and Girls Soccer, Fall Gymnastics, Boys and Girls Cross Country, Field Hockey, Girls Volleyball, Fall Swimming and Diving, and Boys Golf.
- Winter Sports: Nov 30th - Feb 21st - Boys and Girls Hockey, Boys and Girls Basketball, Wresting, Winter Gymnastics, Boys and Girls Indoor Track and Field, Skiing, Winter Cheer, Winter Swimming and Diving, and Dance.
- Fall Sports II: Feb 22nd - Apr 25th - Football, Fall Cheer, Unified Basketball, and other fall sports not able to be played
- Spring Sports: Apr 26th -Jul 3rd - Baseball, Softball, Boys and Girls Lacrosse, Boys and Girls Tennis, Boys Volleyball, Boys, Girls, and Unified Outdoor Track and Field, Rugby, Sailing, Girl's Golf, and Boys and Girls Crew.
- Voted 24-0 to have MIAA Sport Committees and Sports Medicine Committee create modifications for Fall Sports by 8/25, to have Task Force review by 8/27 and have BOD approve by 9/1.
- Voted 23-0 to encourage schools to create Fall schedules within leagues or geographic locations
- Voted 23-0 to cancel MIAA sponsored fall tournaments. Notes leagues can do own tournaments if they follow EEA guidelines.
- Voted 13-7 to accept modification of "as approved by school principal" to proposal of allowing out-of-season coaching between 9/18 and 7/3.
- Voted 7-13 to decline amendment to out-of-season coaching for just Fall II season.
- Voted 13-7 to allow for out-of-season coaching between 9/18 and 7/3 as approved by school principals.
- Voted 20-0 to discuss Winter sports at Oct 29th BOD meeting.
- Voted 19-0 to allow students to participate in all 4 seasons