The Maine Principals’ Association voted Aug. 27 to continue with plans for a 2020-21 fall sports season, but the proposal must receive state approval before high school athletics can be held this fall. FILE PHOTO

MPA approves fall sports season, but hurdles still remain



BAR HARBOR — The Maine Principals’ Association has given sports the OK to return, but additional steps must be taken before high school athletics can be held in Maine this fall.

The MPA on Thursday unanimously approved a decision to go forward with a 2020 fall sports season. Yet the state will have to review the governing body’s decision before practices, games, meets and matches can be held in the weeks and months ahead.

If approved by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services, the MPA’s plan would allow the return of five “low-risk” or “moderate-risk” sports: soccer, cross-country, volleyball, golf and field hockey. Football would be cleared for preseason action, though the MPA must give the sport additional clearance before countable games can be held.

The MPA Sports Medicine Committee had made recommendations Wednesday for the fall sports season that included guidelines for individual sports. Those recommendations, which were approved Thursday, include sanitization stoppages and slide-tackling restrictions for soccer, regionalized scheduling and limited sideline personnel for football and the wearing of disposable face coverings during volleyball matches and at the start of cross-country meets.

Fall sports have been called off completely in California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Oregon, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia. A number of other states have moved football, soccer and/or other high-contact sports to the spring while pushing start dates for other sports to later in the fall.

Last week, Camden Hills Regional High School became the first school in the state to announce it would not be offering sports this fall. Other schools could make similar announcements in the coming weeks.

This story will be updated.

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell

Mike Mandell is the sports editor at The Ellsworth American and Mount Desert Islander. He began working for The American in August 2016. You can reach him via email at [email protected]

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