Massachusetts Updates Its Phase III, Step I Sports & Recreation Protocols

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The state of Massachusetts shifted soccer from a high-risk sport to a moderate risk activity on Friday, July 24. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Earlier this month, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker decided the state was ready to move into the third phase of its reopening, which allowed for games and competitions for some sports to begin under the first step of the protocols, including adult, amateur, and youth baseball.

One sport – soccer – was initially deemed a high-risk activity, but was recently downgraded to the moderate risk category on Friday – we learned of this change earlier today from Matt Feld, who is a reporter for the Boston Herald.

In addition to reclassifying soccer, two other sports – cross-country and individual crew – were downgraded from moderate risk to lower risk.

The latest update of which sports the state considers lower, moderate and higher risk can be found HERE.

As noted in the state’s document for sports and recreational activities in Phase III, Step I, all sports, including lower risk athletics such as tennis, swimming, and horseback riding, must adhere to the ‘type of play’ guidelines in order to successfully compete in both games and practices. The four types of play are listed below:

  • Level 1: Individual or socially distanced group activities (no-contact workouts, aerobic conditioning, individual skill work, and drills)
  • Level 2: Competitive Practices (Intra-team/group games, contact drills, and scrimmages)
  • Level 3: Competitions (Inter-team games, meets, matches, races, etc.)
  • Level 4: Tournaments (Outdoor only)

The news of today’s tweak from Gov. Baker’s office should be viewed as a positive – perhaps it means if high school sports were to occur this fall, these three sports, along with a few others could be allowed to at least practice or participate in some inter-team games. But today’s news does not bode well for football, which remains a high-risk activity, along with wrestling, rugby, basketball, lacrosse, ice hockey, competitive cheerleading, martial arts, and ultimate frisbee

Those that play football at say the high school or youth level in Massachusetts are permitted to participate in either individual or socially distanced group activities.

New England High School Sports Most Likely Won’t Start Until September

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High School fall sports could happen in New England, but a lot of unknowns remain. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

A few months ago, we started to debate if and when a college football season would occur. But that debate is slowly ending – as of now, most New England conferences and schools have elected to punt on the upcoming fall sports season due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

And while more decisions should be coming over the next few days and weeks – will Boston College really play football or soccer this fall? – the focus has quickly shifted to our local high school student-athletes, who are eager to return to the playing field.

High school sports abruptly ended in March due to stay-at-home orders and lockdowns so everyone could stay safe and healthy. But now, some states, including Florida and Georgia, are planning to allow teams to begin preparations for their respective seasons next week while Texas has informed two of its conferences (5A and 6A) that they won’t be holding any practices until early September.

Here in Massachusetts, high school sports cannot begin until Monday, September 14 while Maine won’t permit teams to begin their respective campaigns until Tuesday, September 8. And mind you, these dates are for practices, not games. 

New Hampshire should provide its student-athletes with some guidance and plans for a fall season over the next week or two, according to Ryan O’Leary of Seacoastonline.com, who recently spoke with Jeff Collins, who heads the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association (NHIAA).

Vermont is not planning to begin its fall season next month and most likely Connecticut and Rhode Island won’t allow any of its teams to practice in August either.

While many want to see our local student-athletes back on the field this year, one should remember that this pandemic has taught us the following: things can change pretty quickly. And while it should be viewed as a positive that all six committees are working tirelessly to develop plans and guidelines for their student-athletes to safely return to the field, it is not definite that all six New England states will begin their fall seasons on these exact dates.

Seeing our local high school sports teams in action this fall would certainly provide us with some sense of normalcy, but before any games or practices are held, the first step should be to find a way to safely return students, teachers, and principals to the classroom. And once that is done properly then sports, along with additional extracurricular activities should begin.

Where Things Stand With High School Fall Sports

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Various states are beginning to announce plans for the upcoming high school fall sports season. (PHOTO: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan

For the past few months, high school sports have been at a standstill due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. But with a new school year on the horizon, many are beginning to wonder if and when high school sports will resume, not just here in Massachusetts, but in other parts of the country.

As of now, there are a few states planning to keep high school sports on the sidelines until 2021, while others such as Florida and Georgia will allow preseason practices to begin as soon as next Monday, July 27.

Yesterday, the California Interscholastic Federation announced plans to delay the start of its fall sports season until December, but it is possible games and practices could be shifted to next January due to a recent uptick in coronavirus cases.

In Texas, some teams will start their preseason workouts in two weeks – that would be Monday, August 3, to be exact – while two conferences (5A and 6A) won’t be allowed to practice until Monday, September 7.

Here in Massachusetts, the hope for a high school sports season hinges on future announcements from both the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).

Pending Massachusetts does allow high school sports to be played this year, the official start date for all athletic programs would be Monday, September 14. The date, which was proposed by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Covid-19 Task Force, was approved by the organization’s Board of Directors during this afternoon’s virtual meeting. 

As for what sports will be allowed to play this fall in Massachusetts? That remains an unknown, but guidelines for extracurricular activities, including sports should become available by early August. Those plans will also include guidance for other activities like choir and musical theatre.

Similar to Massachusetts, Maine won’t begin its fall sports season until Tuesday, September 8 following today’s decision by the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA). Games can begin 10 days later, but not before 3 p.m. 

Western Massachusetts Senior Bowl 2020 Game Day Rosters

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By NoontimeSports.com 

Noontime Sports is excited to unveil the 2020 Western Massachusetts Football Coaches Association (WMFCA) All-Star rosters for both the Hills and Valley Teams, which were scheduled to compete this evening at Springfield College.

The fourth annual contest between the two teams is sponsored by the Bianchi/Barbarotta Foundation.

The WMFCA would also like to thank current Springfield College football coach Mike Cerasuolo for his ongoing and continued support for this contest and event, which provides numerous senior student-athletes an additional chance to represent their communities and high school football programs.


The Hills Team 

  • Josh Vecchio (Amherst)
  • Tom Dion (Amherst)
  • JJ Block (Amherst)
  • Dan Block (Amherst)
  • JB Mills (Amherst)
  • Jack Nagy (Amherst)
  • Shane Robles (Amherst)
  • Logan Wing (Athol)
  • Callaghan Daskam (Belchertown)
  • Hunter Klingensmith (Belechertown)
  • Cameron Otto (Belchertown)
  • Garrett DeForest (Fronteir Regional)
  • Rearkeous (Ito) McMillan (Frontier Regional)
  • Donovan Hoffman (Frontier Regional)
  • Colby Avery (Greenfield)
  • Cam Lackey (Greenfield)
  • Nolan Roberts (Hoosac Valley)
  • Travis Dozier Jr. (Hoosac Valley)
  • Joe Delmolino (Hoosac Valley)
  • Liam Feeley (Hoosac Valley)
  • Peyton Doyle (Lee)
  • Tag Roosa (Lee)
  • Garrett Hopkins (Lee)
  • Nick Nicotra (Lee)
  • Jack Purcell (Lee)
  • Cole Redstone (Lee)
  • Nick Nicotra (Lee)
  • Carson Kowalski (Ludlow)
  • Mattingly Provost (Ludlow)
  • Joe Snopek (Ludlow)
  • Shawn O’Shea (Pittsfield)
  • Anthony Pettibone (Pittsfield)
  • Makai Jones (Pittsfield)
  • Ryan Levrault (South Hadley)
  • Noah Will (South Hadley)
  • Max Garvin (South Hadley)
  • Marquis Fitzell (South Hadley)
  • Tom O’Connor (Wahconah)
  • Luke Hescock (Wahconah)
  • Cylas Emerson (Wahconah)
  • Gavin Henshaw (Wahconah)
  • Griffen Salvini (Wahconah)
  • Shea McIlquham (Wahconah)

The Valley Team 

  • Tom Caracciolo (Agawam)
  • Nick Thomson (Agawam)
  • Jacob Bode (Agawam)
  • Paul Ober (Agawam)
  • Jordan Shae (Agawam)
  • Vinny Castro (Agawam)
  • Jerome Jacobs (Chicopee)
  • John Vega (Chicopee)
  • Travis Kagan (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Anthony Folta  (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Nathaniel Lepage (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Kyle Jones (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Iasias Gomez (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Christopher Williams (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Colin Harrison (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Tyler Tanguay (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Alvin Rivera (Chicopee Comp.)
  • Kyle Ingram (Chicopee Comp.)
  • John Oliver (East Longmeadow)
  • Wes Maurer (East Longmeadow)
  • Joe Maurer (Minnechaug)
  • Bobby Gossman (Minnechaug)
  • Alec Rodriguez (Putnam)
  • Gavin Eastman (Putnam)
  • Nate Martinez (Putnam)
  • Leonard Naylor III (Putnam)
  • Devonte Russell (Putnam)
  • Joshua Holbrook (Putnam)
  • Nyzaire Smith (Putnam)
  • Andre Ellison (Springfield Central)
  • Mahari Miller (Springfield Central)
  • Zechariah Gladden (Springfield Central)
  • Kevin Key Jr. (Springfield Central)
  • Cori Jackson (Springfield Central)
  • Isaac Boston (Springfield Central)
  • David Smith (Springfield Central)
  • Greg Harris (Springfield Central)
  • Ben Green (West Springfield)

Vermont Cancels High School Spring Sports

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Vermont becomes the fifth New England state to cancel its high school spring sports season. (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Earlier this month, the Vermont Principals Association seemed hopeful they could provide their high school student-athletes with a spring sports season. But as of Thursday morning, the VPA announced they have canceled the season due to its state’s “Stay Home Stay Safe” order. 

As noted in a press release on the VPA website, both the organization and its Activities Standards Committee delayed their announcement regarding spring sports with “hopes that some version of a season could be salvaged, but now it is too close to the end of the school year for that to occur.”

Vermont becomes the fifth New England state to cancel its high school sports seasons after Maine and New Hampshire called off their respective seasons earlier this month. Massachusetts and Rhode Island canceled their high school spring seasons last week, while Connecticut announced it would not have a state tournament.

As of this morning, Connecticut remains the only New England state likely to have a high school spring season, but it would only occur if schools were to reopen before the current academic years expires. If Connecticut were to have a high school spring sports season, it would only occur in June.