MIAA Creates New Heat Rule


Graphic/ Charlotte Clarke

The MIAA introduced a new rule this year that the heat index, which takes into account the heat and humidity levels, can not exceed 86 degrees for teams to play outside. Coaches and players had to deal with changes to the location of their practices, as well as practice times to accommodate this new rule.

In addition, when the heat index is between 84 degrees and 86 degrees, practices can only have a maximum length of one hour. Within this hour of activity, coaches must allow at least 20 minutes of rest time. Many students agree with this new rule and believe it has a positive impact on athletes.

“In the past, we have had meets on days where the temperature is in the 90s, which has been very dangerous to many athletes, including myself. The intense heat and humidity causes dehydration, collapsing, and breathing problems for athletes across the board. With this new MIAA rule, athletes will succeed in their sport while maintaining physical health,” girls’ cross country captain, Rachel Stanton, said.

During the tryout period, fall sports generally have double sessions, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. However, because of the new rule MIAA put into place, several fall sports teams could not hold the traditional double session tryouts. Both the field hockey and soccer teams had to cancel their afternoon session on the second day of tryouts and carry over the tryout period into the following week. 

“The field hockey team had to change practice times during the tryout week, which made less time for evaluation of the players and took away from time the team could be using to prepare for the first game of the season. Also this new rule ensures every player is safe,” field hockey captain, Sydney Scales, said.

Another sport greatly affected by the new rule introduced by the MIAA was the football team. The football team was accustomed to all day practices leading up to school; however, they had to alter their schedule due to this new rule.

“In the preseason, it forced us to have all our practices at 6:30 a.m. as opposed to around 10. That wasn’t too bad of a situation, but we’d usually go out again later in the day. During that time with the heat, we could only do walkthroughs with mandatory breaks which was really frustrating because it was hard to get stuff done. Overall it just made everyone frustrated and annoyed with how we had to schedule practice,” senior running back Chris Reilly said.

Not only did this rule affect outdoor sporting facilities, but also indoor sporting facilities. The cheerleading team generally practiced in the Walpole High School gym, but sue to this rule they had to change their practices as well.

“We have choreography every year before school starts for about eight hours two days in a row and we had to move it around so many times because of the heat, so we ended up starting practices at 6 a.m. those days,” said senior cheer captain Justine Prophil.

Overall, the new rule introduced by the MIAA has forced teams to change their everyday procedures, but it has ensured the safety of the athletes. 

Although the rule has posed problems for teams, it positively benefits the athletes. 

“The obvious benefit is the health and well being of the student athletes,” Athletic Director Ron Dowd said.