FRANKLIN, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) took a final vote Friday to push back the start date for the winter sports season to December 14.

The meeting lasted more than an hour and a half, during which board members weighed the pros and cons of pushing back the winter season.

The MIAA’s board of directors met virtually today to review recommendations from their COVID-19 task force on which sports will be played in the winter.

Ultimately, the board voted to push back the start of winter sport season till December 14.

“I do know we have several states around us that have backed themselves up to January now. I do know in my conversations with school leaders, there is a nervousness about school sports right after Thanksgiving,” said Thomas Holdgate.

The original start date was November 30.

This was one of many changes that was voted on during Friday’s meeting.

In a 17-to-3 vote, the board also moved winter indoor track to the fall second season, citing facility issues with being able to socially distance players.

They also voted on modifications for winter sports including moving wrestling to the spring season.

As for basketball, the roster can be expanded from 12 players to 15 as long as players can be socially distanced.

For any students on the swim team, it’s up to the facility's space to see how many swimmers can be in the pool area.

For ice hockey, six players can be on the ice with a reduced roster of 20, plus the rink design will decide the number of players that can be in the same area with a six-foot distance.

The other winter sports - alpine skiing, gymnastics, and cross-country skiing - were also approved for specific modifications.

For the MIAA, safety is the top priority.

“The goal has always been to make sure we can offer some sort of athletic opportunity for our students while keeping them, their coaches, game officials and fans safe,” said Jeff Granatino.

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