There will be no state champions crowned in Massachusetts public high school sports until April of 2021, at the earliest.
The Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted unanimously Thursday to cancel state tournaments for the 2020-21 winter season on the recommendation of their COVID-19 Task Force.
Citing concerns about travel and a feeling among the state's athletic administrators that playing any sort of season is more important than playing for a championship, the board is moving forward with a winter season that should resemble what we're seeing this fall. That means games played within league or within a school's own geographic region and no tournaments.
What sports might look like this winter remains up in the air. The state's Executive Office of Environmental Affairs has yet to give guidance on what sort of contact restrictions and rules changes might be needed for youth basketball and for formal high school hockey as well as wrestling, gymnastics and indoor track. The COVID-19 Task Force believes the guidelines, which helped shape the rules changes we've seen in soccer and field hockey this fall when they were released in the summer, will be made public next week.
The Task Force recommended holding firm on the winter sports start date of Nov. 30 (Monday after Thanksgiving) if the guidelines come out on or before Nov. 9. Should they be delayed, they'd recommend a delayed start to the winter to give the MIAA's various sport committees time to modify rules.
The Board of Directors approved all the Task Force's recommendations and the winter sports season would be set to run through Feb. 21. They plan to meet again within three days of the release of the new EEA guidelines to finalize plans for the winter season and would meet on an emergency basis to address any sports deemed unplayable like football was this past fall.