RI will allow most fall sports in schools, except football and volleyball
RHODE ISLAND (WLNE) – At Governor Gina Raimondo’s coronavirus press briefing on Friday, she announced there will be a Fall sports season for middle and high school athletes.
According to Raimondo, the Fall sports season will be condensed this year. It will begin on September 21st with practices and conditioning. Competitions will begin in early October. The season will be wrapped up by Thanksgiving.
All middle and high school students are eligible to play, even if their school is reopening through distance learning.
“We decided it wouldn’t be right to punish the kids for the unwillingness of the adults in their district to do the hard of getting the kids back to school,” said Raimondo. “Youth sports are vital.”
Cross country and tennis will be allowed to begin with minimal changes. Closer contact sports like soccer, field hockey, and sideline cheer will also be allowed, but with modifications.
Football and volleyball are not allowed to resume this Fall and have been postponed to “Fall 2”, which will happen sometime between the Winter and Spring seasons, according to the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL).
“If you look along the northeastern states, which are probably the most analogous to us, I believe that New Jersey and New Hampshire are the only states to try and play football,” said Michael Lunney of RIIL.
The Interscholastic League will work with the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Management to create the cornavirus safety modifications for each sport, which will include things like athletes wearing a mask.
“It will be things like disinfecting the ball. Penalties for intentional direct contact,” said Raimondo.
Lunney said the RIIL will begin meetings with the state next week to officially determine the modifications.
The finalized rules will be sent out to schools before the season starts on Sept. 21. The governor said the rules will be enforced by the honor system.
“I’m also trusting you to enforce the guidelines and make sure these guidelines are followed so that our kids and our coaches are safe,” said Raimondo.
She said if there is a coronavirus outbreak because teams are not following the rules, the state will reconsider allowing sports.