Student-athletes who compete in fall and spring sports would each have four-week competitive seasons under a revised athletics plan announced by Superintendent George Arlotto today.
The plan came about in the wake of a motion adopted by the Board of Education at its February 3, 2021, meeting to alter a previously announced plan in order to afford fall sports teams with competitive contests to the extent possible in addition to the planned spring contests.
After extensive dialogue that focused on student-athlete safety, the equitable availability of athletics fields, and the integrity of the athletics program, Dr. Arlotto and his team developed a schedule that will see fall sports open with tryouts and practices on February 16, 2021, and spring sports practices begin on April 17, 2021. Of particular concern in the discussion were the academic and athletic needs of student-athletes and the availability of turf fields at high schools.
The seasons would be carried out as follows:
- February 16 through March 20: Fall sports practices and tryouts (where needed), with activities occurring no more than three times per week over the first three weeks to ensure field equity. Teams must have three practices before any cuts are made.
- February 27: First date that football teams may begin outfitting student-athletes in helmets and pads.
- March 22 through April 17: Competition weeks for fall sports (approximate number of contests: football, 4; soccer, 5-6; field hockey, 5-6; volleyball, 5-6; cross country, 2-4; and golf, 2-4).
- April 17 through May 8: Spring sports practices and tryouts (where needed). Teams must have three practices before any cuts are made.
- May 10 through June 5: Competition weeks for spring sports (approximate number of contests: baseball, 10-12; softball, 10-12; lacrosse, 5-6; outdoor track and field, 2-4; and tennis, 5-7). Spring competition may be followed by postseason contests.
Unified Sports opportunities (tennis in the fall season and bocce in the spring season) would also be scheduled. Cheerleaders will not take part in county-sponsored competitions but will have the opportunity for in-person practices.
AACPS will maintain its academic eligibility standards during both seasons. However, to maximize opportunities for fall student-athletes, the recovery period for those fall student-athletes who are ineligible at the outset of the season will be extended from 16 days to one month.