Here are the football modifications which the Board of Directors approved this morning by a 22-0 count.
● Facial coverings worn at all times during play and on sidelines; Tube style “gaiters” are not permitted. Balaclava style face coverings that are multi-layered and are extended over the full head are permitted.
● “Splash guards” are acceptable in addition to face masks
● No pregame/postgame handshakes
● Teams rosters for game day competition on the field cannot exceed 45 players and a maximum of 6 coaches. Teams are required to delineate with a physical marker (cone, spray paint etc.) the social distancing requirements (6 ft) for their players and coaches while on the sideline area.
● In order to limit the total number of people in proximity to the field of play, game day personnel with an assigned responsibility are the only people permitted on the sidelines.
● Teams must work to reduce the number of players on the sideline. Injured players with no ability to play in a contest are not permitted on the sidelines. Dressed players should be those with a potential opportunity or need to play. Coaches must not have players in uniform on the sideline for the sole benefit of dressing and being with the team.
● It is recommended that swing players should be limited when possible.
● Team Box: The Team Box is expanded to the 10 Yard Lines. Players must maintain proper social distancing of 6ft while on the sideline
● Chains, pylons, and other field equipment should be sanitized after setup/before the contest and after the contest is over
● Each team is responsible for their own:
○ Face coverings
○ Towels, water, ice, med kit, footballs
● According to EEA guidelines, no more than 25 players or participants can be on one half of the playing field at any one time. Teams that have more than 25 players can still allow additional players to wait on the sidelines or bleachers to substitute for players on the field. To ensure group separation, opposing teams must be spaced at least 14 feet apart while sharing the field.
● Coin Toss/pregame/overtime
○ Limit attendees for the player/officials’ conference
■ Ref, 1 umpire, 1 player from each team
■ All conferences will be held at midfield with 6ft social distance between participants
○ Spacing between players and facing the same direction
■ Consider hand signals/signage from sideline (wristbands)
■ Eliminate hand holding in huddles/during the anthem
■ Limit close contact and/or huddles when possible
● Spectator limitations
○ Based upon current EEA/state guidelines for large crowd gatherings
● Mandatory water breaks at the halfway point of each quarter signaled by the referee at first change of possession after the 6:00 mark in the quarter.
● Hydration stations (water cows, water trough, water fountains, etc.) should NOT be utilized. If water coolers or other large volume water container is utilized, it can only be accessed by a “designated” refill person.
● Team Time-outs are extended to 2 minutes.
● The intermission between periods (first/second and third/fourth) as well as the time period following a try, successful field goal or safety and prior to the succeeding free kick will also be extended to a maximum of two minutes.
● Authorized team time-out conferences will take place near the bottom of the field numbers between the 25-yard Lines.
● To allow for 6’ social distancing for all game officials, the coaches’ area minimum of 2-yard belt between the front of team box and the sideline and becomes a restricted area when the ball is live. No player, non-player, or coach shall be in the restricted area when the ball is live. First offense warning, second 5-yard penalty and subsequent violations result in a 15-yard penalty.
● Clock operators and all personnel in the press box must maintain 6’ social distancing from all other personnel as well as wear face coverings at all times.
● Halftime is 10 minutes. Teams will be assigned an area to gather outside of locker room based upon EEA guidelines.
● Positioning can be altered to maintain social distancing (i.e. line judges)
● Officials shall use alternative whistles such as electronic whistles; air horns are permissible.
● Water: Officials will need to bring their own water containers to the game.
● The Mechanics for a U will be working the CJ Position with a Crew of 5 Officials this year.
● When possible, schools should provide a designated area for officials to prepare and use restroom facilities before the game, break during halftime and at the end of the game.
● No football team activities may take play indoors. Team planning should consider innovative coaching methods, with zoom meetings and film sessions in lieu of group/in-person meetings.
● Practice or team activities are not permitted indoors. From EEA guidelines, “Sports and activities included in the Higher Risk category that require intermittent close proximity or moderate contact (basketball, lacrosse, ice-hockey, ultimate frisbee) or sports that require high contact but are only performed outdoors (football and rugby) can participate in Level 1, 2 and 3 type of play. For the avoidance of doubt, football and rugby must only engage in the permissible activities outdoors.”
● Overall recommendations:
o Athletes will follow school protocols for daily reporting of symptoms/illness
● Before/After Practice:
o Athletes will maintain social distancing on the sidelines (min. 6 feet apart)
o Each athlete will have a designated area for their bag/water/personal belongings
o Coaches must maintain social distancing when addressing the team (avoiding close huddles, etc.)
o Athletes must bring their own water, masks, personal sanitizing materials (no sharing between athletes)
o Avoid group contact among teammates (high fives, group huddles, etc.)
● During practice:
o A coach may only conduct full contact drills up to 30 minutes per week (45 minutes during a week without a scheduled game). The intent of this rule is to limit full contact participation of each student to 30 minutes during a week of practice (45 minutes during a week without a scheduled game). During this time, full contact is allowed in no more than 2 practices per week, no more than 15 minutes per day, and consideration should also be given to limiting full contact on consecutive days
o According to EEA guidelines, no more than 25 players or participants can be on one half of the playing field at any one time. Teams that have more than 25 players can still allow additional players to wait on the sidelines or bleachers to substitute for players on the field. To ensure group separation, opposing teams must be spaced at least 14 feet apart while sharing the field.
● Drill work with Footballs:
o As per the EEA guidelines, all equipment (blocking pads, footballs, etc.) must be disinfected at the end of each practice.
o Limit contact drills (tackling, blocking, etc.)
o Modify group size – work with smaller groups where possible
Additional School Considerations
● Predetermine area for shelter in case of inclement weather
○ Recommend a space for players/coaches/officials where social distancing can still take place
● Assign a ball sanitizing person(s) for each team when possible
● Establish seat markings in the bleachers for spectators to maintain social distancing
● Maintain a record of all individuals present at team activities
● Home team is responsible for sanitizing and prepping all facilities and equipment