It won’t be long before high school athletes begin the transition into their spring sports season. It will be even sooner for the start of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Fall II season.
The MIAA’s volleyball and tennis committees both met in virtual sessions Tuesday morning to hold the pieces in place for what the committee members hope will be successful seasons.
“The coaches are happy to be back and are happy that the COVID line has disappeared,” said Barnstable volleyball coach Tom Turco, a member of the committee.
What is the COVID line? It was designed to keep athletes away from the net, but was not something the coaches liked.
“In the fall of I, the state medical committee was really interested in making a change to reduce intermittent contact,” said Carole Burke, the committee’s rules interpreter. “It was a bit like they needed us to change the rules of the game like in other sports. We started with the fact that they didn’t want to have a game on the net. We felt like a committee to see if that was the case. the net, we wouldn’t have to play the game There would be no stoppage in the game Ultimately, the compromise was that we would keep the attacker three feet from the net, and that meant putting down a line.
“That would prevent the attacker from hitting the ball in front of that line, and that would create a little more distance between the attacker and the blocker.”
In the end, the committee agreed that the so-called “COVID” line did not have to exist.
“Since it was the first indoor sport, we were probably viewed a little better than the other sports,” said Baker. “That was a bit of an exaggeration for us.”
In volleyball, match balls only need to be sanitized between sets. This is a change from the requirements set at the beginning of the fall, namely that play balls must be sanitized after each use. Teams must have six match balls ready to use, and spare match balls must be placed in a rack and ready to use.
Berkshire County’s version of the Fall II season starts on March 22nd and runs through May 2nd. In addition to volleyball, soccer, football and united basketball, there are seasons. Some school districts that have chosen not to have a golf and cross-country competition will be able to have that in Fall II.
The spring season starts on April 26, when all traditional spring sports begin. For 2021, the list of spring sports includes wrestling, which can be fought both indoors and outdoors.
The Tennis Commission met early Tuesday morning via video conference to discuss proposed COVID-19-related modifications to the sport.
Singles participants are not required to wear masks while playing.
One of the other adaptations concerns the use of tennis balls. The recommendation is to mark balls through a court, so that participants on one court always know which number field they are on and which numbered tennis balls to use.
Players must also return balls from adjacent courts by kicking them back or hitting the ball with a racket. Balls should not be thrown.
On practice days, coaches must practice in pods.
During matches, when players change sides, they must use the opposite sides of the field. In addition, only the home team players are allowed to touch the leaderboards when the scores change.
“It’s pretty simple,” said Brian Cogswell, Lenox vice president. “That is what I will present to the Sports Medical Commission on the 8th, and at that time I will try to answer any questions.”
One question came up during the meeting about tournament play during the tennis season.
The Tournament Management Committee and the Board of Directors of the MIAA have decided that there will be no MIAA-approved post-season tournaments for the winter sports or for the sports involved in Fall II. There’s no decision yet as to whether there will be a post-season MIAA competition in the spring. Those teams and athletes lost their post-season in 2020 when the pandemic ended all spring sports.
“I understand … it doesn’t look likely, that the individual tournament is unlikely to be held,” Carolyn Bohmiller of the MIAA told the committee. “The timetable is pretty tight.”
How tight? According to Bohmiller, the first games of spring start on May 6 and the application deadline for the individual tournament is May 14.
“For obvious reasons,” she said, “the focus would be on the team tournament.”
Cogswell agreed with the idea.
‘I know of discussions here [in Berkshire County] Let’s talk about bringing teams together, let’s talk about kids getting together and enjoying each other, ”said Cogswell. If you go individually, that will take everything away anyway. I think we’ll just go to the team tennis format and move on from there. “