High School Football: MIAA votes for 16-team state playoff

Staff Writer
Published: 2/4/2021 8:00:57 PM

The MIAA Football Committee reversed course on Thursday.

At a meeting in January, the Football Committee voted to have a nine-week regular season followed by eight teams making the postseason with no consolation games in the new statewide tournament format. After receiving backlash for the vote from different schools around the Commonwealth, the committee met again on Thursday in a special meeting to reconsider.

In a re-vote, the nine-week, eight-team postseason failed, as it was shot down with a 9-11-1 vote. It’ll convert back to the originally planned format, with 16 teams making the postseason after an eight-game regular season. Teams who fail to qualify for the postseason or have been eliminated from the postseason can schedule consolation games.

“Eliminating kids from the playoffs isn’t good for football,” said committee member Scott Fry, one of two members to vote against the plan the first time. “What I’ve seen in the last seven months, no fans in the stands yet we’re still seeing them play hard. It’s hard for me to imagine kids that play football won’t play for the love of the game. A football game is a football game whether it is postseason or not, so they’ll play their hearts out.”

The vote won’t have an impact on the upcoming Fall II football season, but will be in affect for the upcoming fall season later this year. The vote will now go to the Tournament Management Committee, who must approve it for it to go into action.

Like anything, the committee stressed it will be subject to change as they see how the statewide formula plays out.

“What it looks like in the first year will look different in the third year,” committee member Jim O’Leary said. “This is a fluid situation.”

The main reasoning for committee members who voted against the eight-team plan was making sure most teams play in the postseason.

With the number of football teams around the state dwindling, getting as many teams involved in the postseason is important.

“With an eight-team format, some teams will say they have no chance of making the postseason,” David Pignone said. “With eight teams, only 22 percent of teams in the state qualify. I don’t know how that’s good for the kids.”


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