MPSSAA clar­i­fies Feb­ru­ary start to high school sports

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­

The Mary­land Pub­lic Se­condary Schools Ath­letic As­so­ci­a­tion (MPSSAA) last week up­dated its “Roadmap for the Re­turn of In­ter­scholas­tic Ath­let­ics.”

It mainly re­in­forces what Bal­ti­more County had been telling ath­letes and their par­ents the week be­fore: all three sports sea­sons play­ing ab­bre­vi­ated sched­ules when the sec­ond se­mes­ter starts at the be­gin­ning of Feb­ru­ary and last­ing un­til June 19.

The win­ter sea­son (bas­ket­ball, wrestling, in­door track) will be­gin prac­tices on Feb. 1 through Feb. 21, with com­pe­ti­tion start­ing on Feb. 22 and end­ing March 27.

Prac­tices for the fall sea­son (foot­ball, soc­cer, field hockey, vol­ley­ball, bad­minton and cross coun­try) are from March 15 through April 4, with com­pe­ti­tion be­gin­ning on April 5 and end­ing May 8.

Spring sports (track and field, base­ball, softball, ten­nis, lacrosse) will prac­tice April 26 to May 16, and com­pete from Ma717 to June 19.

That gives each sea­son about three weeks for prac­tice and re-con­di­tion­ing, fol­lowed by five weeks of com­pe­ti­tion.

No de­ci­sion has yet been made on state tour­na­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to the MPSSAA doc­u­ment, “the high­est risk, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ter for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion, is in­creased par­tic­i­pa­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties that in­clude statewide com­pe­ti­tions among dif­fer­ent ge­o­graphic ar­eas.

“The MPSSAA will look for cre­ative ways re­gard­ing th­ese types of events and make de­ci­sions as we get closer to the sec­ond se­mes­ter.”

The MPSSAA also warns the Roadmap “is in­tended to be fluid and will be mod­i­fied as needed based on guid­ance from the” State Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Depart­ment of Health and the Pub­lic School Su­per­in­ten­dent As­so­ci­a­tion of Mary­land.

Since Mary­land Gov. Larry Ho­gan an­nounced last month the state is now in Stage 3 of the Mary­land Roadmap to Re­cov­ery, that means schools may fully re­sume in-per­son ac­tiv­i­ties, but must com­ply with

ant state and/or lo­cal re­stric­tions in place.

The Bal­ti­more County School Board de­cided last month the county would use re­mote learn­ing for the en­tire first se­mes­ter, which ends on Jan. 31.

With the state in Stage 3, the pos­si­bil­ity was left open by the county school

board of re-eval­u­at­ing the de­ci­sion at the end of the first quar­ter.

The MPSSAA will al­low lo­cal school sys­tems to con­duct the fol­low­ing sports-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties in the first se­mes­ter: vir­tual prac­tices or in-per­son con­di­tion­ing; skill-build­ing ses­sions; sport-spe­cific prac­tices, in­tra­mu­rals and scrim­mages with other schools as al­lowed by fac­tors iden­ti­fied by lo­cal health de­part­ments.

Bal­ti­more County also re­quires all ath­letes in­ter­ested in play­ing sports in the sec­ond se­mes­ter must register in the first se­mes­ter, com­plete their phys­i­cals and en­gage in ac­tiv­i­ties with their teams.

(The MPSSAA does state teams com­pet­ing dur­ing the sec­ond se­mes­ter may not be “es­tab­lished” dur­ing the first se­mes­ter; tryouts and team se­lec­tion must take place dur­ing the three weeks given for pre­sea­son prac­tice and re-con­di­tion­ing.)

Dur­ing the five-week “sea­sons,” the amount of games played will be de­ter­mined by the MPSSAA’s de­fined weekly and sea­sonal con­test lim­i­ta­tions per sport.

Which means no more than five foot­ball games.

Base­ball, softball, golf and ten­nis can play up to three games/matches a week, ac­cord­ing to

MPSSAA rules; bad­minton, bas­ket­ball, field hockey, golf, cross coun­try, lacrosse, in­door and out­door track, vol­ley­ball and wrestling may not have more than two games/matches/ meets a week.

There are ex­cep­tions: bad­minton, bas­ket­ball, field hockey, lacrosse, soc­cer and vol­ley­ball may sched­ule three games/ match in one week twice dur­ing the sea­son, while track and cross coun­try may sched­ule three meets in a week once dur­ing the sea­son.

Foot­ball: one game a week. No ex­cep­tions.

Base­ball and softball could play as many as 15 games dur­ing the ab­bre­vi­ated sea­sons, while bas­ket­ball, lacrosse, field hockey, vol­ley­ball and soc­cer can each sched­ule 12 con­tests.

If the MPSSAA de­ter­mines state tour­na­ments are not pos­si­ble, then lo­cal school sys­tems will have the op­tion to con­duct post­sea­son tour­na­ments to de­ter­mine county, city or con­fer­ence cham­pi­onships.


De­spite plans to hold all three sports sea­son start­ing on Feb. 1, it is un­likely the state will be able to sched­ule large events like the three-day state track and field cham­pi­onships at Morgan State Univer­sity.

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