Chariho’s Rogan Wotherspoon (4) puts a block on Westerly’s Joe Fusaro (28) in the Westerly vs Chariho boys’ varsity football game played Friday afternoon, September 13th, 2019, at Westerly High School’s Augeri Field. | Jackie L. Turner.

Football in Rhode Island won't be played in the fall but during a so-called Season 3 that will take place between the winter and spring seasons, according to the RIIL. | Jackie L. Turner.

Westerly High and Chariho High will likely play football this school year, but it won't happen this fall.

The Rhode Island Interscholastic League made that announcement Friday afternoon. In addition to football, girls and unified volleyball will also be moved to a so-called Season 3 that will take place between the winter and spring seasons.

Exact dates for Season 3 have not been established.

Sports that will take place this fall with safety modifications include cross country, girls and boys soccer, girls tennis, sideline cheerleading and field hockey.

Gov. Gina Raimondo had made the announcement earlier in the day prior to the RIIL's statement.

RIIL Executive Director Mike Lunney said the governor's announcement came after the state reviewed a league plan that included all falls sports.

"This has been a monumental effort," Lunney said in a online news conference Friday. "Data changes and the goal line keep getting moved. We are dealing with schools trying to reopen in a pandemic."

Lunney said he understands that football players may be disappointed by the change.

"No. 1, we feel that disappointment," he said. "As a state high school athletic association, our job is to provide opportunities to kids. When we can't do that it is certainly not a good feeling.

"Our goal is to provide contact football in Season 3. ... How that plays out is unknown at this point. We are going to do whatever we can. We are dealing with an unprecedented situation."

Lunney said league officials will meet with Department of Health officials next week to develop modifications for each sport. Those modifications have not been finalized and have not been sent to schools in the state, Lunney said.

The league has recommended games be played on weekends, but Lunney said those decisions will be made by each school. He said there is no restriction on schools playing during the week if they both agree to do so.

Schools have been sent modified schedules to be used a guide for the season. He said those games could count for playoff seedings. He said the greater concern is playing as many games as safely possible. He said the playoffs made be administered in a different way this season.

Lunney added that the league has recommended that only 66 percent of the facility size, or a maximum of 250 people, be allowed to attend any event in the fall. That would include players and officials. Those decisions will also be made by each school.

The start date for fall sports practice will be moved from Sept. 14 to Sept. 21. The summer contact period between coaches and athletes has been extended to Sept. 13. Games will start being played the first week of October.

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