The Friday Rewind (Nov. 6, 2020)

By Matt Noonan

Ah, it’s Friday – we made it (insert cheers!).

And it is also the first Friday of the month, which means it’s a good time to unveil a new weekly post that will recap and revisit the content we produced, both here through the site, as well as our podcast and social channels.

But first, here is some of the latest headlines that you may want to check-out or read before transitioning into weekend mode.

Noontime’s Friday Afternoon Headlines

Noontime’s Week of Content (Nov. 2 – Nov. 6)

Noontime Sports Podcasts (links to Spotify, but remember you can find our show on other platforms, too!)

Noontime Instagram Posts (Make sure to follow us @NoontimeNation)

Circle back this weekend for some new blogs, but in the meantime have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Noontime Sports Unveils Content Plans For Fall Sports Coverage

NoontimeSportsLogo2020By Matt Noonan

Happy Monday, everyone!

We hope this post finds all our fans and friends continuing to do well while staying safe and healthy.

As we inch closer to the fall, we are in the process of generating some new content ideas for both the site and podcast, as well as our social media channels.

And as expected, a majority of our content will center around football this fall.

Yes, our coverage may not be exactly the same as many recall from previous years, but we are excited to produce some new content on the various teams and programs we have been fortunate to cover these past ten years here in New England, as well as highlight some new squads from around the region and country that will be competing later this summer and fall on the gridiron.

Starting today – Monday, August 31, to be exact – we will be producing our first-ever ‘Stars of the Week’ post, which will highlight various high school student-athletes that competed the previous Friday and Saturday. Additionally, we hope to welcome a coach, student-athlete, or reporter/media member from different areas of the country onto our podcast each week to share stories from games and practices.

Of course, I anticipate other content will be created as we inch closer to the end of the year, but for now, hopefully, this post (and insight) provides everyone with some additional excitement for what you can expect to see over the next few weeks and months.

As you know, I have been running (and yes, overseeing) Noontime Sports since I launched the site in May 2009, and it has been an amazing journey that has allowed me to connect with so many great people under the athletic umbrella. I am so thankful for everyone’s ongoing support for coverage and look forward to getting back to blogging and podcasting this afternoon!

MIAA BOD Provides A Glimmer Of Hope For High School Student-Athletes

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High school soccer will occur this fall, but it will look different. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Credit is due to not just the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Board of Directors and Covid-19 Task Force, but everyone that has been working tirelessly these past few months to provide our state’s high school student-athletes with some sense of normalcy during these unprecedented times.

Wednesday’s unanimous decision by the MIAA Board of Directors to accept plans for a four-season model by the Covid-19 Task Force, including the opportunity to play football next February, should be seen as a positive. But as we know, there is still a lot of work to be done as we inch closer to the official start of a new fall season, which will look quite different than years past.

As of today, the 2020 fall sports season will begin Monday, September 18 for the following sports: soccer, gymnastics, cross-country, field hockey, girl’s volleyball, swimming and diving, and golf. And just to be clear, the start date listed above means practices, not games.

Each contest, match, and meet will look quite different. And that is because we’re living in pandemic so don’t be surprised if the soccer committee completely rewrites the rules we’re accustomed to like header, throw-ins, and slide tackles, so every participant, including coaches and officials, can feel safe on the pitch.

Modifications for each sport, which are due next Tuesday, August 25, must aline with the state’s current guidelines for Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities established by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA)

According to Jim Clark of the Boston Globe, the Covid-19 Task Force will review the modifications and tweaks submitted by each sport’s committee next week “for final consideration by (Jeff) Granatino and MIAA executive director Bill Gaine by Sept. 1.”

As we anxiously await for future announcements – and yes, news and notes on Twitter – I feel it is best to stop and appreciate the hard work by these men and women, who have provided our state’s student-athletes with the hope of better days to come with a return to play format.

Yes, there is still a slew of questions that need to be answered with a new fall sports season on the horizon. There will also be new wrinkles to the current plan in place, too, but as we learned last week from our friend in Connecticut, the current situation is fluid and things could change because of the coronavirus.

But for now, our state has plans in place for a brand new high school sports season, which should put a smile on everyone’s face. And while the upcoming school year and yes, athletic year, too, will be rather unique, it will be a story many of us will be eager to tell our children and grandchildren when questions about the coronavirus pandemic are brought up in the future. And as someone that loves to tell stories, I will be excited – is excited the right word? – to share my experience.

Massachusetts High School Football Will Compete Next February

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Some fall sports will be allowed to play this fall, while high school football will not be allowed until next February. (PHOTO COURTESY: Matt Noonan/NoontimeSports.com)

By Matt Noonan 

There will be no high school football games in Massachusetts this fall due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

But there is hope for the state’s local gridiron stars to play some games next February as the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) Board of Directors unanimously approved recommendations from the organization’s COVID-19 Task Force to allow four seasons to occur this upcoming school year.

Football, which is deemed a higher-risk activity by the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA), will compete during the “floating season,” which is scheduled to kick off Monday, February 22, and conclude Sunday, April 25. Cheerleading, unified basketball, and any other fall sport that cannot compete during the initial fall season, which is scheduled to commence Friday, September 18, will also be allowed to play games during the Fall II season, according to one of 11 recommendations approved by the Board of Directors.

With yesterday’s decision to delay the start of the 2020 high school football season, Massachusetts joins a growing list of other states that won’t play games this fall, including Colorado, Nevada, and North Carolina – all three states are scheduled to kick off their respective seasons in February, too.

Locally, the debate of if and when a high school football will occur continues to be a hot topic, especially in New Hampshire where some districts plan to play games this fall while others will not. According to WMUR, Bedford will not allow its student-athletes to play football or soccer, as well as compete for its crew team, but will permit bass fishing, cross country, field hockey, golf, and outdoor volleyball with some restrictions.

It is possible football and soccer may not occur in Maine this fall due to recent state guidelines presented by the Maine Principals’ Association (MPA) on Wednesday.

Here in Massachusetts, high school sports fans will be treated to some of the usual fall activities, including soccer, gymnastics, cross country, field hockey, girl’s volleyball, swimming and diving, and golf. However, the rules for all these sports will most likely be tweaked by each sport’s committee and the MIAA Sports Medicine Committee.

While there won’t be football games played on Friday evenings or Saturday afternoons this fall, teams will be permitted to practice but must adhere to the EEA’s guidelines for activities in Phase III, Step 1.

Four New England States Will Play High School Football This Fall

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Connecticut becomes the fourth New England state to allow high school football this fall. (PHOTO COURTESY: Visualhunt.com)

By Matt Noonan 

The state of Connecticut became the fourth New England state to greenlight fall sports this afternoon, including football, despite the ongoing coronavirus (Covid-19).

Today’s announcement from the nutmeg state follows a similar notification from Jay Nichols, who is the executive director for the Vermont Principals’ Association (VPA), during Governor Phil Scott‘s press conference on Monday. But unlike Vermont, which plans to play seven-on-seven football this year, Connecticut will play tackle football.

Maine and New Hampshire will also allow tackle football to be played this fall, but those plans like Connecticut’s could change pending how each state continues to contain the virus.

Prior to this afternoon’s announcement regarding plans for fall sports, there seemed to be some momentum from the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference (CIAC) football committee to move the upcoming season to next February. But that plan was nixed after the organization heard from its various “stakeholders group” during today’s meeting.

“The major decisions (in deciding to go ahead with fall sports) was hearing from all of our stakeholder groups today,” said Glenn Lungarini, who is the executive director of the CIAC.

“We had an opportunity to continue to collaborate with all of our education stakeholders and hear directly from our medical advisory group, and at this point, they strongly feel that the COVID-metrics in Connecticut have not changed from when we approved the plan on July 30. (We believe) that it is safe to play all sports as scheduled right now with the mitigating factors that we have in place, including football.”

According to the CIAC website, high school football practices can begin as soon as next Monday, August 17 in cohorts of 15. Full team practices can start Friday, September 11 followed by scrimmages one week later (September 18).

The CIAC’s 2020 football season will start on Thursday, September 24 with teams being permitted to play a maximum of six contests. The final date for all teams to compete is Friday, October 30.

Following the conclusion of the 2020 regular season, the CIAC will provide its programs with a postseason from Monday, November 2 to Sunday, November 15.