The Rhode Island high school winter sports teams that began practicing Monday did so with an eye toward possibly competing in games upon completing the mandatory 10-day practice period.
It would appear the wait for competition is going to last a little while longer.
Rhode Island Interscholastic League Executive Director Mike Lunney and DEM Chief Public Affairs Officer Michael Healey confirmed to the Call/Times that a final decision still needs to be made as it relates to allowing contests in basketball, hockey, swimming, indoor track & field, and gymnastics.
In an email, Healey wrote, “Because the state hasn’t approved competitions yet, schools and teams may only participate in practice indefinitely.”
The correspondence with Lunney included the following response: “We are not yet approved for games, but are still working with state officials to determine when we will get the green light.”
An order from Gov. Gina Raimondo prohibits any competitions between schools through Tuesday, Jan. 19. The key piece that will determine when games can take place revolves around where the coronavirus data stands coming off the holidays, but coaches and athletes shouldn’t automatically assume there will be games and meets on Jan. 20.
The bottom line is that action is coming from the governor’s office regarding the Executive Order where it’s either changed, allowed to expire, or extended.
The RIIL is optimistic that a definitive start date for winter sports competition will be revealed sometime early next week. In the interim, member schools are being asked to take down any games that were previously scheduled for the weekend of Jan. 15-17.
Westerly High was scheduled to travel to Chariho High for a boys basketball game on Jan. 15.
On the surface, a later-than-originally anticipated start date for games may help to create a more of an equal playing field for those schools that did not begin practicing on Jan. 4.
“I know everyone is worried about games, but being able to practice is a really good thing. They need to be back engaged with the school,” Lunney said. “The alternative would be that they’re sitting at home again.”
Follow Brendan McGair on Twitter @BWMcGair03