MPA Gives Thumbs Up For Fall Sports

State Agencies To Check Guidelines, Local Schools Can Opt In Or Out

The Maine Principals’ Association has voted to go forward with a fall high school season in all sports, including football.

The MPA Interscholastic Management Committee vote on Thursday afternoon was unanimous to approve the Sports Medicine Committee guidelines to play football, soccer, volleyball, field hockey, cross country and golf.

MPA Interscholastic executive director Mike Burnham said the plan will be vetted by state agencies and that local districts will have the chance to opt in or out of any of the sports.

Dr. William Heinz from the MPA Sports Medicine committee went through guidelines for each fall sport…

GOLF:  Considered low risk. Will follow many of the MSGA guidelines.

CROSS COUNTRY:  Considered low risk. Masks worn when not competing. Make sure there is 6-feet separation at narrow spots on courses. Finish line area expanded.

FIELD HOCKEY:  Considered moderate risk. One substitute per team and each end of scorer table. Player coming off the field takes knee instead of sitting. Keep mouth guards in. Take more time at breaks for players to use own water bottles.

VOLLEYBALL:  Considered moderate risk. Indoor is the issue and players must compete with face coverings on. No switching sides of the net during match.

SOCCER:  Considered moderate risk at national level. Considered high risk by Maine State Community Sports Guidelines.  Only 5 offensive & defensive players in box during corner kicks. Do not take mouth guards out of mouth. Officials timeout at 20-minute mark of halves to allow water and hand sanitizing. No slide tackles.

FOOTBALL:  Considered high risk. Dr. Heinz cites 7 other states have played nearly 1,000 games with no big issues to date. Expand sideline bench area to the 10-yard line to allow distancing. More time during timeouts to allow players to use their own water bottles. Dr. Heinz cites “while other sports have a green light to start play, football has a ‘blinking yellow light’ to start play. Any issues will bring a stop to play.”

  • Guidelines for all sports: The number of spectators at games is to be determined by state guidelines. Schools will need an emergency action plan if they do not already have one. Coaches must take Covid-19 course.

The current Phase 4 of MPA approved summer workouts continue as planned. Schools can begin tryouts/practices on September 8th. Football will have a three week ramp up before games are played.

“The easy decision was to say no. Saying yes was tough,” said Dr. Heinz.

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