A new November date for the SAT will conflict this fall with some state championships and the last regular-season football games in the MIAA A Conference, including the Gilman-McDonogh rivalry game. The athletes, however, still will have plenty of time to take the test in the fall if they plan ahead.
The College Board moved the SAT date this year from the first Saturday of November to the second Saturday, Nov. 8 -- the date of state championships in cross country, field hockey and boys and girls soccer.
Ned Sparks, executive director of the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletic Association, said he doesn't know why the date was changed, but that the MPSAA cannot change its state championships.
He urged coaches and players to be aware of the change so players who want to take the college entrance test can take it on Oct. 11 or Dec. 6, the two other dates it is offered in the fall.
"We're just trying to tell folks that they have them in October, they have them in December, so think ahead," Sparks said, "because it's really an important date. We've always tried to stay off of it, but once they change the date at this late juncture, it's pretty difficult for us to move the state championships."
Nov. 8 is the final day of the regular season for public school and MIAA A Conference football. The MIAA B and C conference championships are scheduled for that day, but the C Conference final kicks off at 3 p.m. and the B Conference final at 7, late enough for players to take the SAT in the morning and still compete.
One of the alternate dates, Dec. 6, is the day of the Class 1A and Class 2A state finals, so football players who expect to make the finals should plan to take the SAT on one of the earlier dates.
Sparks said public school football coaches are used to working around the SAT and that it's easier to move one game than to move a whole slate of state finals, such as those in field hockey and cross country, that are run all in one day.
"If you have a single contest like a football game, a soccer game, something like that, you can schedule around it," Sparks said, "but if you have a contest where you have literally every [finalist] school in the state involved, that's pretty difficult to try and change dates and make alternate arrangements. And in cross country, you need daylight."
Another game that needs daylight is the Gilman-McDonogh game, scheduled for 2 p.m. on Gilman's campus, where there are no lights. Greyhounds athletic director Tim Holley said the 99th rivalry game is scheduled to go on as planned.
"At the moment, our intent is to have the football young men from both schools take the SAT another time," Holley said.
"I guess if we get some parental pushback maybe or if we find that a significant number of kids from both schools need to take it that day, we might have to adjust it. The only real option, if we're going to play the game on Gilman's campus, is to play it on Friday afternoon, but the game has some significance in the community beyond just the game and there's a lot of development and alumni stuff for both schools that are set up for a Saturday game."
Holley said he doesn't want to move the game to 3 p.m., because with Daylight Saving Time over, it gets dark too early.
"There's a chance that if you have an overcast day, it's pitch black at 5 o'clock," Holley said. "What you'd hate to have happen is it's a close game, it's the fourth quarter and you have four minutes left and it's really dark out and you can't throw the ball. That's not good."
Gilman is usually a host site for the SAT, but Holley said this year because of the game, it will not host the test Nov. 8.