Jaxon Gross of Bucksport High School runs in a two-point conversion against Lisbon during the Class D football state championship game in Portland in 2019. The Maine Principals' Association on Tuesday announced that it has pushed back the start of the fall sports season. (Troy R. Bennett | BDN)

There is still hope for a fall high school sports season in Maine. It just won’t be happening until at least mid-September.

The Maine Principals’ Association Interscholastic Management Committee voted on Tuesday to delay the start of the fall season until Sept. 18. The organization made its announcement in an email sent to member schools on Tuesday afternoon.

The committee made the decision based on a recommendation from the MPA Sports Medicine Committee, which had taken under consideration issues surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in suggesting the move.

Maine’s high school season had been scheduled to get under way on Aug. 17 with preseason workouts, but the timetable put into place on Tuesday pushes that first day of team tryouts and practices back to Sept. 8.

The resulting season likely will be up to three weeks shorter than usual, which means the MPA’s respective sports committees will be responsible for determining how many competitions will be allowed.

Those committees also are being encouraged, in conjunctional with the National Federation of State High School Associations, to formulate any needed adjustments to the rules that would help schools work around any safety issues that might arise.

They also likely will have to adjust the process for qualification for postseason play and potentially may have to adjust tournament guidelines.

As part of its effort to facilitate a safe and successful sports season in Maine, any school that does not finish its season after starting it will not be penalized. The existing rule calls for a two-year ban from competition for schools that are unable to complete their schedules.

For Aroostook County schools, some of which normally begin preseason practice and countable games earlier than the rest of the state to accommodate the fall potato harvest break, they may begin practicing as early as Aug. 17.

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Pete Warner

Pete is a Bangor native who graduated from Bangor High School, Class of 1980. He earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He has been a full-time member of the Bangor...