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. 

The Ivy League Cancels Fall Sports

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There will be no football games this fall at Harvard Stadium. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

The Ivy League has made it official: there will be no fall sports this year due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Ancient Eight made a formal announcement late this afternoon following a slew of reports from multiple reporters and outlets about the league’s plans for the upcoming fall sports season.

A decision about winter and spring sports will be made at a later date, according to today’s press release.

While no games will be played this fall, the Ivy League will permit “practice and other athletic training opportunities” for those student-athletes who are on campus. The league will also provide its members with guidelines to help its coaches and student-athletes with conditioning and practice plans.

According to Heather Dinich of ESPN.com, the Ivy League’s decision to cancel its fall sports season was due to the various “COVID-19 policies” each school had put in place two weeks earlier for their upcoming school year.

How will today’s announcement impact the rest of the college sports landscape? The answer: we should know more in the coming days and weeks.

As of now, it appears some college football, as well as fall sports, will occur later this year, but it’s likely we will see more schools and conferences follow the Ivy League like they did earlier this year after the conference canceled its basketball tournaments at Harvard University in March. The Ivy League also canceled its spring sports season.

In addition to the Ivy League, the Centennial Conference (CC) announced yesterday they would “suspend any intercollegiate competition for sports scheduled for the fall semester,” which included football. However, the conference could provide its football teams with some games in the spring.

Per Multiple Reports, Ivy League Will Not Play Fall Sports

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The Ivy League will announce plans for the fall sports season on Wednesday, July 8. (PHOTO COURTESY: IvyLeague.com)

By Matt Noonan

No official announcement has been made as of late this afternoon, but according to various reports, it appears as if the Ivy League will not being playing fall sports this year.

In addition to no fall sports, Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel is reporting that none of the Ancient Eight winter sports teams can begin their respective season until after January 1, 2021. The decision on winter sports is what a few other local schools have announced, including Bowdoin College and MIT.

With news of no fall sports being played later this year, it is likely that Ivy League football fans won’t see their favorite teams on the gridiron until next September. In addition to football, it is most likely that other fall sports such as field hockey, soccer, and volleyball won’t play games until the 2021-22 school year.

The Ivy League was the first NCAA D-I conference to cancel its basketball tournaments in March due to the coronavirus. A few days later, the Ivy League canceled the remainder of its spring sports season.

Ivy League To Announce Plans For Fall Sports Next Wednesday, July 8

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The Ivy League will announce plans for the fall sports season on Wednesday, July 8. (PHOTO COURTESY: IvyLeague.com)

By Matt Noonan 

An announcement on if and when an Ivy League football season will occur either this fall or possibly next spring will be made next Wednesday, July 8, according to the league’s website

The Ivy League posted a statement about its upcoming fall sports announcement earlier today, as well as shared the news on Twitter

In addition to football, other fall sports that the Ancient Eight sponsors, including soccer, field hockey, and volleyball, will also find out if and when their respective seasons will take place, too.

The Ivy League, specifically its eight football programs, have been in the news this week following a Sunday report from TMG Sports that the upcoming season could be shrunk from 10 games to seven contests or possibly moved to next spring. Sunday’s report sparked additional reporting from ESPN’s Heather Dinich, who learned that the Ivy League’s “Council of Presidents has been meeting frequently via videoconference this spring” to discuss the upcoming fall sports season.

Just a short time ago, the New York Post reported that one of their sources believes it would be hard to see the Ivy League play any sports this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Ivy League was the first conference to cancel its basketball tournaments in March

The eight Ivy League football teams don’t compete for spots in the College Football Playoffs or bowl berths nor hold summer workouts for its student-athletes.

Dartmouth College and Yale University shared the Ivy League crown last fall by finishing their respective seasons with identical 9-1 overall marks, including 6-1 records against league opponents.

NCAA President Mark Emmert Is Concerned About Fall Sports

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NCAA President Mark Emmert said no games will be played this fall without students back on campus. (PHOTO COURTESY: Photo by Maxx Wolfson/Getty Images)

By Matt Noonan

As we continue to inch closer toward a brand new college sports season, specifically college football, there seems to be some concern from NCAA President Mark Emmert regarding what various seasons will look like this fall during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

In a recent podcast appearance on The Comeback: COVID-19 and the Return of Sports from The Athletic, Emmert told host Seth Davis that the current situation is “very, very fluid,” and that whatever happens with fall sports will certainly be different than prior years.

“What we do know for sure is whatever occurs it’s going to be different,” said Emmert, who previously stated during an NCAA Social Series last month on Twitter that college athletics could not occur if students were not on campus.

As for what the upcoming football season looks like, including here in New England, Emmert told Davis that it won’t be what “we’re custom to seeing it year in and year out.”

Earlier this week, we learned Bowdoin College would not be playing football this fall – maybe this spring? – while Morehouse College announced today that its cross country nor football teams would not be competing for Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) championships this fall. 

The Patriot League announced its plans for the upcoming fall sports season on Monday, which included guidelines for its seven members that play football. Teams will not be allowed to fly to away games while the league stated that “with rare exceptions, the regular-season competition will exclude overnight travel.” 

Holy Cross, which captured the Patriot League crown last fall with a 24-0 victory over Georgetown University, shouldn’t have to fly too many games this fall as eight of its current contests, including three conference matchups, are scheduled to take place in either Massachusetts or Connecticut. However, the Crusaders’ season-opener against Merrimack College on Thursday, September 3 could be canceled due to the league not allowing its members to compete against non-conference foes until Friday, September 4. 

As of today, we are 10 weeks away from the first official weekend of college football in New England as well as 69 days away from watching a slew of teams kick-off their respective campaigns on Thursday, September 3, including Bentley University, University of Connecticut and University of Massachusetts Amherst

Will games begin on time or be pushed back to later in September? Could we see games moved to October, November, or even December? What about pushing back the season until next spring? 

No matter what, Emmert knows the upcoming college sports season will look so much different than it has previously and may only feature conference or in-state contests along with a slew of regional games.

“Nobody can predict anything with certainty and so therefore you shouldn’t rule anything out,” said Emmert. 

“I certainly think that sitting here today that there will be football in the fall. I think it will be different in many respects whether it’s the audiences in attendance or not in attendance, whether it’s the nature of the schedule, whether it’s the length of the season – you know, all of those things will be different and certainly the protocol and the way the games are played and the healthcare that surrounding that has got to be different.”