Maryland to allow high school football to be played in the Fall or in the Spring of 2021

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The Maryland State Superintendent of Schools and Governor Larry Hogan are opening the door for high school football to be played during the Fall sports season. According to a news release on the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association website, State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon announced on Thursday that each local school district can decide when they want to play high school football for the 2020-21 sports season.

Read: Maryland moves high school football to 2021

In early August, the MPSSAA became the seventh state to move the 2020 high school football season into the Spring of 2021. Thursday’s announcement allows schools to choose between playing in the Fall with games being allowed to start October 27, or wait until the Spring.

The plan is similar to the choice that Colorado gave its schools last week.

Read: Colorado to crown Fall and Spring football state champs

Maryland becomes the fifth state to reverse an earlier decision to move football to the Spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. Michigan, which was the first state to change its mind, opened the regular season last weekend. Colorado, Delaware and Minnesota will open their regular seasons next month.

Read: Michigan returns football to 2020

Read: Delaware reverses its decision on high school football

With Maryland’s decision, 35 states will be playing Fall high school football during COVID-19.

See the entire story on the MPSSAA Website below:

Maryland State Superintendent of Schools Karen B. Salmon, Ph.D. today announced the ability for each local school system (LSS) to officially start the interscholastic athletic fall season in Maryland secondary schools beginning Wednesday, October 7, 2020. 

The decision of the State Superintendent was reached after recent discussions with the State Board of Education, the 24 local school system Superintendents, the Executive Director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association (MPSSAA), parents, and other stakeholders. Additional considerations included current health metrics and guidance provided by the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) as Maryland continues to operate in the early portion of Stage Three of its Roadmap to Recovery plan.

Local school systems, at their discretion, may opt into commencing a fall competition season or playing all three sport seasons within the Two-Semester Plan option announced by the MPSSAA on September 11, 2020.  By electing to begin fall sports now, LSSs have the ability to start competitions on October 27, 2020, and play into the second week of December.  The decision also affords greater opportunities for winter and spring sport competition during the 2020-2021 academic year.  Complete information about both options may be found at www.mpssaa.org.

The MPSSAA, on July 7, 2020, released a Roadmap for the Return of Interscholastic Athletics to guide LSSs in the immediate preparation for the anticipated return of interscholastic athletics and extracurricular activities.  All LSSs are encouraged, as soon as possible, to begin conditioning sessions in preparation for the first official fall practice sessions. 

For more information on safely reopening Maryland schools, visit http://governor.maryland.gov/recovery-schools.

Get the latest reliable information on the coronavirus outbreak from the Maryland Department of Health at https://coronavirus.maryland.gov/

October 7 Option For Fall Sports. 

  • All school systems shall, as soon as possible, provide conditioning and training opportunities utilizing the current available options provided by the MPSSAA.
  • On October 7, 2020, all local school systems may choose to begin formal fall sport season practices in preparation for a competition season which will begin on October 27.  All practices and preparation must be in accordance with Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) required practice regulations, and all face covering and public health protocols established by the state and local health departments.
  • The state is expanding the seasonal competition timeframes as previously announced for all winter and spring sports within this plan.
  • The October 7 option provides for seven weeks of competition for fall sports—including cross country, field hockey, football, golf, soccer, and volleyball:
    • First available practice date: October 7, 2020
    • First available competition date: October 27, 2020 (Golf may resume competition on October 7, 2020.)
    • Last play date: December 12, 2020
    • Culminating event/tournament: December 14-19, 2020
  • With the October 7 option, winter sports can begin practice on December 14, and spring sports can begin practice on March 15. 
  • Local school systems that choose not to exercise the October 7 option for fall sports may utilize the Second Semester Plan option as previously announced. 

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About the Author

Jeff Fisher
Jeff is an award-winning journalist and expert in the field of high school sports, underscored with his appearance on CNBC in 2010 to talk about the big business of high school football in America. Jeff turned to his passion for high school football into an entrepreneurial venture called High School Football America, a digital media company focused on producing original high school sports content for radio, television and the internet. Jeff is co-founder and editor-in-chief of High School Football America, which is a media partner with USA TODAY High School Sports.