Local ADs react to MIAA vote on new athletic calendar for 2020-2021

This article was published 2 year(s) and 9 month(s) ago.

When the news broke that the MIAA Board of Directors had voted to update the 2020-2021 athletic calendar and allow sports to return under certain safety conditions, coaches and athletic directors across the North Shore immediately got to work on what is sure to be a laundry list of tasks over the next several months. 

But before starting the work, there was relief and excitement.

“The MIAA committees and the Board of Directors have been working so hard toward this and I’m glad that we’re going to be able to give our kids an opportunity to compete,” said Classical athletic director Bill Devin. “Athletics are so vital to the high school experience, and we’re elated to be able to provide those athletics any way we can.”

“It’s definitely a bit of a relief because even sports that can’t be played in the first fall season can be pushed to the floating season, so we have a little bit of room to work with,” said Swampscott athletic director Kelly Farley. “We already have meetings set up for the end of the week, so we know we have a lot of work still ahead of us.”

That work will include figuring out how to set up seasons with teams while deciding which schools and sports will play in the newly designed seasons. 

School districts designated as red based on the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) metric of average daily cases per 100,000 residents  — which locally would be Lynn, Saugus, Salem and Revere — and which therefore have their high school students learning remotely at the start of the season, must postpone their entire season, including practices, until the floating season later in the year.

If a non-red district begins with remote learning, the district’s school committee will vote to determine when the school will play. Districts designated as yellow, green, or unshaded based on the DPH metric that nonetheless have their high school students learning remotely at the start of the season may similarly delay their season to the floating season if they vote to do so.

Another recommendation that was approved by the Board of Directors Wednesday was that those fall sports played from Sept. 18-Nov. 30 will not be competing in any MIAA-sponsored tournaments. Individual leagues will be able to hold their own tournaments provided they comply with safety guidelines. 

“I think it makes sense, as it would be tough to conduct a statewide tournament when you have communities from all around the state converging and you’re not sure how many teams will even make it,” said Farley. “I would imagine since we’ll be playing our seasons in-conference as well, making a conference-only tournament for this year would be a good alternative.”

There is still plenty to be discussed before any high school sports season can begin, but at the end of the day, all involved are just happy that there is at least some pathway to normalcy now.

“I think the most important thing here is that we’re slowly starting to move back toward some kind of normal,” said Devin. “If we’re able to coordinate these seasons well and provide all of these kids with opportunities to play, I think it will end up being very rewarding for everyone.”

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