Sports, Recreational Activities Can Return During Phase Two & Three Of Massachusetts Reopening

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Sports and recreational activities will be allowed during the second and third phases of the reopening of Massachusetts. (PHOTO COURTESY: VisualHunt.com)

By NoontimeSports.com 

The thought of sports and recreational activities taking place in Massachusetts seems more realistic these days as our state continues to slowly reopen.

As we learned yesterday, the second phase of the state’s reopening plan, which is currently scheduled for Monday, June 8, would allow amateur, adult, and youth sports leagues to return to the field. But once our state advances to the third phase – as of now, it would begin Monday, June 29 – more options would become available, including the use of fitness centers and health clubs.

To help everyone understand how sports and recreational activities can be reintroduced to everyone over the next few weeks, we have compiled a list of what will be reopening, beginning in phase two.

What to expect in Phase Two (Caution): 

  • Professional sports teams can begin practicing while training programs can resume.
  • Sports camps can begin – most likely, they will start later this month once the current school year concludes.
  • Golf facilities, including outdoor driving ranges, can reopen. Additionally, mini-golf would be allowed during the second phase.
  • Adult, amateur, and youth sports can begin. Adult sports must be played outdoors while youth sports could occur indoors under supervision.
  • Additional outdoor recreational facilities that can reopen in the second phase include pools, playgrounds, spray decks, go-karts, batting cages, and climbing walls.

What to expect in Phase Three (Vigilant): 

  • Overnight camps – if there are sleepaway athletic camps, they would be permitted during this phase.
  • Indoor recreational and athletic facilities can reopen, but these are not limited to youth programs, though.
  • Additional indoor activities can occur, including batting cages, driving ranges, go-karts, bowling alleys, arcades, laser tag, roller skating rinks, trampolines, and rock climbing.
  • Fitness centers and health clubs can reopen, including cardio, weight rooms, locker rooms, and facilities.
  • Fitness studios that offer yoga, barre, cross-fit, spin classes, and general fitness studios.
  • Fitness centers can also allow their customers to use both their locker rooms and shower rooms, as well as their indoor common areas, indoor swimming pools, indoor racquet courts, and gymnasiums.

In phase four – the ew normal – saunas, hot-tubs, and steam rooms at health clubs will be allowed.

For more information on what else will be allowed to reopen in the state of Massachusetts, CLICK HERE

UMass’s Walt Bell Seems Optimistic For A College Football Season

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Walt Bell, who is entering his second season with the UMass football team, appears optimistic for a college football season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Justin Casterline/Getty Images)

By Matt Noonan 

As we continue to inch closer to July and August, the thought of college football seems to be on the minds of many these days, including the University of Massachusetts‘ Walt Bell.

Bell, who is entering his second season as the head coach of the Minutemen, seems optimistic for a season to occur this fall, despite so many questions swirling around the health and safety of both coaches and student-athletes.

“Every single day, you can start to see that snowball of positivity start to roll,” Bell said when speaking with Howard Herman of the Berkshire Eagle. “I know there will be football. I know in the majority of the country, there’s going to be football.”

Indeed, there will be football games played somewhere this fall, but will they occur in states like Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and New York, which have been impacted by the coronavirus (Covid-19), remains an unknown? 

Bell did say that games will be played in Florida and Georgia, which certainly seems likely, especially after hearing Governor Ron DeSantis tell reporters last month that high school football fans “should absolutely assume” a season will happen later this year.

As of now, Bell and the Minutemen will keep their focus on staying connected through Zoom and FaceTime while thinking optimistically about the team’s season-opener against the University of Connecticut.

Sports Will Return Under Phase Two Of Massachusetts Reopening

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By NoontimeSports.com 

The amateur, adult, and youth sports world received some good news today from the state of Massachusetts.

As announced earlier today during Governor Charlie Baker‘s press breifing, sports will be able to return in some capacity during the second phase of the state’s reopening.

The second phase of the Massachusetts reopening plan is scheduled for Monday, June 8.

“Today, we are releasing guidance and workplace safety standards for these outdoor adult sports, youth sports, and summer sports camps,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito during Wednesday’s briefing with the media. “This guidance includes guidelines for facility opperators, as well as activity organizers.

“As part of phase two, outdoor athletic facilities can be open for organized youth and adult sports activities in accordance with the guidance. Games, scrimmages, and tournaments are currently not permitted for any organized sports activities and contact sports must limit activities to no contact drills and practices.”

In addition to outdoor activities, the state has outlined plans for restrictions for indoor facilities “to supervised sports programs and sports campus for youths under the age of 18.”

Gov. Baker announced last week that the state’s professional sports teams would be able to hold practices, beginning Saturday, June 6. That is the same date both Baker and his administration are planning to provide Massachusetts residents with additional information on the second phase.

Wednesday’s announcement, along with the executive order Gov. Baker outlined earlier this week should be viewed as a positive step – a small one, of course – with restarting athletic events. It does not mean, however, that games and events can resume as they once did a few months ago.

The Way Too Early New England D3 Football Top 20 Poll (June 2, 2020)

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By NoontimeSports.com 

Sure, college football is not happening today or tomorrow, but a new season appears to be on the horizon.

So, like we did last year, it is time to unveil our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll – we will have a preseason poll once we get closer to the 2020 season.

Program Note: Our ‘Way Too Early’ New England D-III Football Top 20 was based on our final poll from the 2019 season, as well as statistics. 


The 2019 Way Too Early New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll

The Final 2019 New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll 


Noontime Sports Way Too Early New England D-III Football Top 20 Poll 

1. Williams College 7-2, 7-2 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 11

2. Endicott College

9-2, 6-1 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 3

3. UMass Dartmouth

7-3, 5-3 MASCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 9

4. Wesleyan University

8-1, 8-1 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 8

5. Middlebury College

9-0, 9-0 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 4

6. Salve Regina University

4-6, 3-4 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 20

7. Trinity College 

5-4, 5-4 NESCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 13
8. Western New England 9-2, 7-0 CCC 2019 Final Spot: No. 1
9. Framingham State  8-3, 8-0 MASCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 5

10. MIT 

7-3, 6-1 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 6

11. Springfield College

6-4, 5-2 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 7

12. Western Connecticut

8-3, 6-2 MASCAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 10

13. Tufts University

4-5, 4-5 NESCAC

2019 Final Spot: NR

14. Nichols College 6-4, 4-3 CCC 2019 Final Spot: No. 14
15. WPI 10-1, 6-1 NEWMAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 2
16. Amherst College  4-5, 4-5 NESCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 15
17. Bridgewater State 6-4, 6-2 MASCAC 2019 Final Spot: No. 12
18. Husson University 4-6, 4-3 CCC

2019 Final Spot: No. 17

19. Coast Guard Academy

5-5, 2-5 NEWMAC

2019 Final Spot: No. 18

20. Univ. of New Eng.

4-6, 2-5 CCC

2019 Final Spot: NR

On The Rise: Anna Maria College and Dean College

NCAA D-III Reduces Number Of Games Required For Championship Selection

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NCAA D-III Football teams will only need to compete in five games this season to be eligible for the postseason. (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualunt.com)

By Matt Noonan

The upcoming NCAA D-III sports season will look a bit different than usual due to the ongoing pandemic, which brought an end to multiple winter championships in March, along with numerous spring sports seasons.

Yesterday the Division III Administrative Committee approved the recommendation from the Division III Membership and Championships Committee to allow its various members to compete in fewer contests than usual this upcoming school year – 33 percent less than normal, to be exact – so they can be eligible to contend for a national title.

The reduction of contests will allow each institution to remain in compliance to compete for a championship but also provide flexibility for athletic departments when it comes to scheduling to “seeking relief in the form of waivers.”

“We hope that a reduction in contest minimums will provide flexibility to our member schools as they work to reopen during what is a very uncertain and complex time,” said Tori Murden McClure, the chair of the committee and Spalding president, in Friday’s release. “We understand this won’t fix everything for everyone, but we believe it is the right move at this time and we will remain flexible moving forward.”

The flexibility will certainly help schools when it comes to reopening – it is possible some schools could start earlier or later like a slew of Division I institutions announced this month, including Notre Dame and Syracuse University.

Football teams, including those here in New England, would only need to compete in five contests this fall to be eligible to compete in the NCAA D-III postseason while basketball teams will need to play 12 contests.

As of now, it appears fall championships will occur, but those plans could be altered due to the coronavirus (Covid-19).