Maine’s high school sports season pushed back two weeks
There is still hope for a fall high school sports season in Maine.
It just won’t be happening until at least mid-September.
The Maine Principals’ Association Interscholastic Management Committee voted on Tuesday to delay the start of the fall season until Sept. 18. The organization made its announcement in an email sent to member schools on Tuesday afternoon.
The committee made the decision based on a recommendation from the MPA Sports Medicine Committee, which took under consideration issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in suggesting the move.
Maine’s high school season had been scheduled to get under way on Aug. 17 with preseason workouts, but the timetable put into place on Tuesday pushes that first day of team tryouts and practices back to Sept. 8.
The resulting season likely will be up to three weeks shorter than usual, which means the MPA’s respective sports committees will be responsible for determining how many competitions will be allowed.
Those committees also are being encouraged, in conjunction with the National Federation of State High School Associations, to formulate any needed adjustments to the rules that would help schools work around any safety issues that might arise.
They also likely will have to adjust the process of qualification for postseason play and potentially may have to adjust tournament guidelines.
Knowing that some schools may be affected by the Covid-19 Virus, schools will be allowed to adjust their schedules during the season.
As part of the MPA’s effort to facilitate a safe and successful sports season in Maine, any school that does not finish its season after starting it will not be penalized. The existing rule calls for a two-year ban from competition for schools that are unable to complete their schedules.
For Aroostook County schools, some of which normally begin preseason practice and countable games earlier than the rest of the state to accommodate the fall potato harvest break, they may begin practicing as early as Aug. 17. The purpose of that rule is to allow districts to work on their Return to School Plan without the worry of starting fall sports.
The changes shift Phase III of the MPA Summer Guidelines for all sports to Aug. 3–23, although details of those policies are still being developed. Phase IV of those guidelines, for fall teams only, will run from Aug. 24–Sept. 7, 2020. Those will focus on conditioning for fall athletes.
The MPA also is encouraging schools and leagues to build regional schedules when possible.
After the completion of Phase IV, the fall preseason period will be reduced from three weeks to two weeks leading up to the Sept. 18 regular-season start date.