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Sans football, RIIL announces playing of most fall sports in 2020

Girls volleyball, unified volleyball will also shift to one-off, late-winter/early spring schedule


WARWICK — Most fall high school sports, with the notable exception of football, will be played as scheduled in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, following a decision rendered by the Rhode Island Interscholastic League and the Principals Committee on Athletics.

The Interscholastic League, through the office of executive director Mike Lunney, issued a statement Friday afternoon, Sept. 4, announcing seasons for boys cross country, girls cross country, girls tennis, sideline cheer, boys soccer, girls soccer and field hockey will commence in concert with Governor Gina Raimondo’s authorization of the start of the 2020-21 term next week.

Not approved to resume this fall are football, girls volleyball and unified volleyball. The RIIL, as previously considered, will administer those sports in the so-called “Season 3” between the winter and spring schedules next year.

The organization’s statement read in part, “The RIIL will be adopting a four-season model and those three sports not approved to start in September will be moved to Season 3, which will be held between the winter and spring seasons at a start date to be determined.”

The Principals’ Committee on Athletics voted to move the start date of fall sports to Monday, Sept. 21, one week after the beginning of the new term on September 14.

“The RIIL and Rhode Island Department of Health will continue to work together to implement safety measures and policies that will help minimize the risk of the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The RIIL also will continue to receive guidance both from the National Federation of State High School Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee and the League’s own Sports Medicine Advisory Committee,” the statement read.
It continued, “The RIIL emphasizes that its return-to-school-based athletics plan remains fluid and flexible, and health metrics and data will continue to be closely monitored.  As we continue to navigate life during this pandemic, we all must stay vigilant in protecting ourselves and others from the risks and spread of the virus. Our focus will now shift to educating our member schools so that they are able to administer these programs in the safest manner possible based on the approved guidelines.

"It is imperative that administrators, coaches, officials, student-athletes and staff members realize the importance of adhering to the guidelines and safety measures to help preserve their seasons.”

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.