New guidelines could mean more normalcy for spring sports

AUGUSTA — Maine high school sports might finally be getting — dare it be said — just a little bit more normal.

After more than a year of dealing with the unfamiliar on courts, fields, diamonds and tracks throughout the state, local athletes, coaches and administrators are beyond ready for the return of the atmospheres that have long defined the games they love. Thanks to some new guidelines, there is optimism that that return could be just around the corner.

The Maine Department of Economic Coordination and Development announced Friday changes to the state’s guidelines on community sports. Those relaxed guidelines, which follow an announcement last week easing gathering limits beginning March 26, could pave the way for a spring season that looks much more like years past.

The new community sports guidelines allow for teams in “low-risk” sports to participate in all competitions and those in medium-risk sports to participate in all but a select few. The guidelines were also revised for high-risk sports, which are now able to begin intra-squad competition.

Under the new guidelines, state championship events could be held this spring should the Maine Principals’ Association choose to offer them. To date, in-person competitions have only been held between teams from adjacent counties.

There will, of course, still be some protocols in place that will make the games feel a bit different. In baseball, those changes include designating benches outside of the dugout area and moving the home-plate umpire behind the pitching mound in an effort to reduce close-contact situations.

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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