MIAA Sets Winter Sports Start Date for Dec. 14

November 23, 2020 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballFacilitiesHockeySwimmingWrestling
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) announced the start of the winter sports season will be delayed two weeks, but the majority of athletic offerings will be played.

According to a report from The Eagle-Tribune, basketball, ice hockey, gymnastics, swimming and diving, and Nordic and alpine skiing were all approved to begin practice on December 14, although November 30 was the originally approved start date for the winter season a few months ago.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Wrestling, however, did not meet the parameters to hold a season in the winter months, The Eagle-Tribune reported. Instead, it was pushed to the 2021 spring season (late April into June). Spring was targeted, as opposed to the organization’s Fall II season (February into April), because of the option that wrestling events could be held outdoors.

“There was no path for wrestling this winter,” MIAA liaison Phil Napolitano told The Eagle-Tribune.

And due to a lack of available large-scale venues, indoor track was moved to the Fall II season.

As for modifications to the sports that will be played in the Bay State, most of them center around social distancing.

Basketball will have no jump balls, a reduced number of players along the line during free throws, only five seconds of face-to-face contact allowed, and all in-bounds plays coming from the sideline rather than under the bucket, The Eagle-Tribune reported. The game-day rosters were initially limited to 12 players, but the board of directors voted to amend that to 15 so long as a gym has enough room for social distancing.

The only in-game modifications for ice hockey is the play will be blown dead if three players are chasing the puck along the wall and that six feet of distance must be followed on faceoffs, according to The Eagle-Tribune. Also, the outlet reported that the use of locker rooms will not be permitted.

All players across all winter sports must wear masks during gameplay while hockey players are permitted to wear neck gaiters — as long as they are two-ply. Additionally, the handshake rule continues to be suspended and players are strongly discouraged from high-fiving or other forms of touching, The Eagle-Tribune reported.

“Everything we’ve done is with the best interest and safety of the student-athletes in mind,” MIAA President Jeff Granatino said, according to the newspaper. “Thousands of student-athletes worked hard to make this fall season work, and it’s been our hope we can do it again in the upcoming winter season.”

To read the full article from The Eagle-Tribune about the MIAA’s modification to the winter sports season, click here