BOSTON — There likely won’t be any high school football in Massachusetts this fall, although other sports will probably be played and there is hope that football can be played later in the school year, officials said Wednesday.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors approved a recommendation from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to allow “low” and “moderate-risk” sports to play with modifications during the fall season.
Those sports, including golf, cross country, field hockey, soccer, gymnastics and volleyball would begin practices starting Sept. 18.
So-called higher-risk sports — including football — would play during a “floating season” that would start in late February and run into April.
Sports will be played based on coronavirus risks and are subject to state office of Environmental and Energy Affairs guidelines.
The board voted 23-0, according to The Boston Globe.
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in a statement Tuesday said sports play an important role in education.
“Organized physical activity should be encouraged, within clear health and safety parameters,” the agency said. “Most sports can be played in ways that minimize those risks. In many cases, that will mean that interscholastic competitions may not look the same and may need to be played under fairly stringent restrictions with modified rules.
Massachusetts will be the second New England state and 17th in the country to abandon playing football in 2020. Vermont, one of those teams, opted for a 7-on-7 plan for fall and playing volleyball outdoors.
Connecticut, meanwhile, originally approved of an all-sports fall plan on July 31 and reaffirmed that plan with a Board of Control vote last week.
But all high school sports training and the first official football practices were put on pause for a week after the Connecticut Department of Health released a recommendation to push “high risk” sports like football and volleyball (which is played indoors) to spring or until two weeks after schools re-opened.