MIAA Green Lights Most Winter Sports
It's the news that so many high school athletes and parents have been waiting for: the MIAA has officially given the green light to a winter sports season. This means that boys and girls basketball, ice hockey, indoor track and swimming are a go – with certain modifications.
Wrestling and competitive cheer are both indoor and high-contact sports, a double whammy. This put them in a different category than football (a high-contact outdoor sport). Wrestlers and cheerleaders will be allowed to train, but not compete. Social distancing must be maintained at all times during training.
"It's encouraging," said Old Rochester Regional High School Athletic Director Bill Tilden. "It's going to be great to get the kids back out there, but it's definitely going to be tricky."
Tilden was referring to the modifications and social distancing rules that will be in effect. One of those rules caps the number of players on any surface or playing area to 25 for team sports. Tilden wonders how that might affect indoor track; he planned on seeking clarification in meetings happening next week.
Even seating two basketball teams on a bench will be challenging. While players will be allowed to have two spectators each, players and coaches will all need to sit six feet apart from one another. Starters and coaches alone (for both teams) are likely to take up much of the first row, backups could sit three rows behind the starters. This would limit space for fans.
Other issues will be transportation. Some schools do not allow student-athletes to get themselves to and from away games due to liability reasons; however, those policies may be relaxed in order to ease the burden on keeping players socially distanced on buses.
One thing that you'll definitely see on basketball courts and hockey rinks: players masked up. According to the MIAA rules, all players will be required to wear a mask 100 percent of the time.
The winter sports season is set to begin on November 30. At the moment, football is set to begin in February.