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Football Set for February in Massachusetts

February 1, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingFootball
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) announced late last week that football, along with other postponed fall sports, can begin on February 22.

The “Fall II” season is expected to run from the 22nd through April 25 and will include cheerleading, indoor track, and unified basketball as well as football. No sport will hold MIAA-sponsored postseason and school districts will have the choice to opt-out, according to a report from NBC10-Boston.

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Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Additional sports that school districts did not hold in the “Fall I” season, like cross-country, dance, golf, field hockey, soccer, swimming and diving, and volleyball, can also be held in the “Fall II” season if the school district chooses.

“We made adjustments in the fall and had a successful first season. We made additional modifications for the winter and our student-athletes have been actively engaged since December. Now we are hopeful that with the guidance from the Governor’s office and of [the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs], along with the work of our various committees, that we will be able to have a safe and successful Fall II Season,” MIAA President Jeffrey Granatino said in a statement.

Below are some of the modifications approved by the MIAA Board of Directors for the football season, according to a report from The Boston Herald.

Competition/Game Management

● Facial coverings are worn at all times during play and on the sidelines; Tube style “gaiters” are not permitted. Balaclava style face coverings that are multi-layered and are extended over the full head are permitted.

● “Splash guards” are acceptable in addition to face masks

● No pregame/postgame handshakes

● Teams rosters for game day competition on the field cannot exceed 45 players and a maximum of 6 coaches. Teams are required to delineate with a physical marker (cone, spray paint etc.) the social distancing requirements (6 ft) for their players and coaches while on the sideline area.

Spectator limitations

● Mandatory water breaks at the halfway point of each quarter signaled by the referee at the first change of possession after the 6:00 mark in the quarter.

● Hydration stations (water cows, water trough, water fountains, etc.) should NOT be utilized. If water coolers or other large volume water container is utilized, it can only be accessed by a “designated” refill person.

● Team Time-outs are extended to 2 minutes.

● The intermission between periods (first/second and third/fourth) as well as the time period following a try, successful field goal, or safety and prior to the succeeding free kick will also be extended to a maximum of two minutes.

Practices

● A coach may only conduct full-contact drills up to 30 minutes per week (45 minutes during a week without a scheduled game). The intent of this rule is to limit the full-contact participation of each student to 30 minutes during a week of practice (45 minutes during a week without a scheduled game). During this time, full contact is allowed in no more than 2 practices per week, no more than 15 minutes per day, and consideration should also be given to limiting full contact on consecutive days.

● Limit contact drills (tackling, blocking, etc.).
● Modify group size – work with smaller groups where possible.

Game Officials

● Positioning can be altered to maintain social distancing (i.e. line judges)

● Officials shall use alternative whistles such as electronic whistles; air horns are permissible.

● Water: Officials will need to bring their own water containers to the game.

● The Mechanics for a U will be working the CJ Position with a Crew of 5 Officials this year.

To read all of the updated rules and modifications for the MIAA football season from The Boston Herald, click here