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Parents continue call for resumption of private high school sports seasons as IAAM, MIAA discuss plans

Pallotti celebrates the win. St. Vincent Pallotti defeated St. Mary's, 42-0, in the MIAA B Conference championship game at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn.
Pallotti celebrates the win. St. Vincent Pallotti defeated St. Mary's, 42-0, in the MIAA B Conference championship game at Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn. (Paul W. Gillespie)

With Maryland on Sept. 24 giving the go-ahead for public high school sports workouts to return as soon as Oct. 7 and the Philadelphia Catholic League reversing course Sunday, several parents from Maryland’s private school conferences have boosted their calls for their leagues to return to play.

The Parents for IAAM and MIAA Athletes Facebook group has over 2,700 members and have urged leadership within the Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland and the Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association to meet regularly. The group’s goal is for both leagues to return to “allowing practices, scrimmages and interscholastic competition for a fall season.”

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The parents of IAAM and MIAA student athletes made a request Tuesday to conference officials for the following:

  • “Transparent reporting on discussions and votes about cancellations within both the IAAM and MIAA”
  • “Disclosure of metrics used to make postponement or return-to-play decisions”
  • “Immediate authorization of full practices and inter-scholastic scrimmages for schools that opt in to such activities”
  • “Review and reconsideration of the fall sports postponement no later than Oct. 1, with equitable opt-out provisions for schools not prepared to resume athletic competition”

Parents additionally cited Allegany County’s return to play as a motivation for the continued push. It held an open session Sept. 28 and the board of education voted unanimously to return to play on Oct. 7.

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In an email obtained by Baltimore Sun Media, Archbishop Curley athletic director Matt Hatton acknowledged the announcement that the state of Maryland would give counties the autonomy to start in October. Hatton announced that “leadership committees from both the MIAA and IAAM met last week to discuss options" and that the “committees will reconvene this week to work on formalizing a proposal for the Heads of Schools of both leagues."

“There is a meeting for the Heads of Schools scheduled for early October to discuss the viability of athletics and when might be able to return to play,” Hatton wrote. “The findings of that meeting will then be released, along with a plan moving forward, shortly thereafter this meeting. Know that Archbishop Curley seeks to have athletics back up and fully running as much as anyone and will continue to work internally for our student-athletes and families, as well as work with the MIAA to do so.”

Former Washington Football Team executive vice president of football operations Vinny Cerrato’s son, Vincent, is a senior wide receiver at Loyola Blakefield. He believes that there is an added importance on this season — citing the first overall selection of the 2020 NFL draft.

“[It] depends on where he goes to college, but yes he would like to play. [Just] ask [Cincinnati Bengals quarterback] Joe Burrow how much playing his senior year paid off,” Cerrato said. “When I coached at Notre Dame, I didn’t want to offer a kid [a scholarship] until his senior year. So, I could see his development. Football will be fine. [Just] take a couple of weeks in pads to get ready. The kids have all been working out, so conditioning should be good.”

Amanda Nogle, 43, has two sons — Carter, a ninth grader and Coleman, a 10th grader — who are both wrestlers at Mount Saint Joseph. Nogle cites her experience as a nurse, working with COVID-19 patients and seeing the amount of cases in her hospital come “down drastically.” She mentioned that parents understand the risks to every activity that their children participate in as student-athletes.

Nogle believes that there is an added importance to get the fall athletes to return to play, so that her sons can return to wrestling in the winter.

“The urgency to return to sports has always been there for my children and our family,” Nogle said. “Face-to-face classroom instruction as well as extracurricular activities is important on so many levels. However, recently seeing other states and districts returning to sports, makes me sad for all the MIAA athletes. Fall sports can definitely pave the way for the rest of the year. We can get these kids back on the field with nice weather and proper precautions and tweak protocols as necessary for the winter seasons.”

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