Fall sports cleared, football this February

Aug 20, 2020

State officials have given most Dartmouth High School fall sports the go-ahead, but don’t expect there to be any football games at Memorial Stadium until at least February. 

On Aug. 19, the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association unanimously approved a series of recommendations that will allow for fall sports in Massachusetts.

Within those recommendations was the call for a four-season athletic schedule that places football, other high risk sports and moderate risk sports that cannot be modified into a “floating season” that will take place during the spring semester.

According to the MIAA, school departments will have local control to create a fall season schedule within leagues and geographic regions to limit travel and number of opponents.

Dartmouth High School Athletic Director Andrew Crisafulli said in a statement that there are still many variables that need to be considered and approved in order for Dartmouth Schools to “safely sanction this athletic opportunity.”

“It’s a work in progress,” Crisafulli said.

“We are excited that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is permitting school departments the ability to offer a possible fall athletic experience to our students,” he added. “DHS will continue to work tirelessly on this opportunity.”

The fall 1 season, which will not include any MIAA-sponsored tournaments, will feature golf, cross country, field hockey, soccer, and girls volleyball.

Practices for those sports can begin on Sept. 18 and must follow new safety guidelines which include increased distancing, along with eliminating deliberate contact and minimizing intermittent contact.

Any school that has its fall 1 season cut short due to Covid-19 may request the District Athletic Committee allow for that sport to take place during the fall 2 season, which would go from Feb. 22 to Apr. 25.

Higher risk sports, like football, competitive cheerleading and unified basketball, will compete during a “floating season.” 

Practice for these sports will can begin during the fall 1 season. 

According to head football coach Rick White, his staff is currently exploring how to hold a socially distanced practice. One idea, he said, is to break them down into small groups by position.

As for how the team would approach February football, White said the use of the Carlin Lynch Activity Center could be an option in inclement weather.

He added that nothing has been confirmed yet, but that more should be figured out by Friday.

“Our student-athletes are excited to have the opportunity to play,” he said. “But it is very hard on them because they don't know when or if it will happen for sure.”