MIAA votes to begin spring sports on May 4, extend season to June 27

  • Turners Falls’ Alyson Murphy crosses the plate after hitting a two-run home run last season against Greenfield. The MIAA’s Board of Directors voted on Monday to run a spring sports season from May 4 through June 27, and postseason tournaments will still be played as long as schools open on May 4. STAFF FILE PHOTO/DAN LITTLE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/30/2020 2:41:11 PM

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association is still making plans to have a spring high school sports season, with a postseason to follow.

The MIAA’s Board of Directors voted unanimously during its conference call on Monday to extend the spring season to June 27. Via a 19-0 vote, the BOD intends to have a spring sports season running from May 4 through June 27, extending the season an extra week to accommodate sectional and state tournaments. The ultimate decision whether there would be a state tournament remains fluid, however, according to the BOD.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MIAA has shifted its season to follow the school calendar set forth by Governor Charlie Baker’s office. Prior to Monday’s conference call, the spring season was expected to begin on April 27, but when schools were closed until at least May 4, the state’s athletic governing body was forced to adjust.

The big news out of Monday’s call was the extension of dates in order to have a season. The MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee (TMC) had previously suggested that under the assumption that the season had to end on June 20, there would be no chance for a postseason if the season were to begin after April 27. With an extra week on the back end, the MIAA is moving forward with the hopes that a May 4 to June 27 season would be sufficient for postseason formats.

These potential dates are all under the assumption that students return to school on May 4. If school openings are delayed further, the BOD said there would not be a postseason.

“Everything we’re doing this year is outside the box,” MIAA President Jeff Granatino said during the call. “We have the ability to tweak what the traditional tournament looks like.”

In addition to postseason teams, the BOD voted 10-9 in favor of sub-varsity and non-tournament qualifiers having the ability to continue playing games until June 27. There’s no mandate from the MIAA that those teams would have to play games after the regular season ended, but “the window is there to have as much playing time as is necessary,” according to Granatino, Superintendent of Marshfield Schools.

The BOD voted on several other measures Monday that will impact the spring season.

Rule 58.1, which refers to academic eligibility standards, was waived with the stipulation that individual school principals will determine the eligibility of their student-athletes for the spring season.

Lengthy discussion surrounded Rule 56.1, which involves physical examinations for student-athletes. Board member Dan Shine, Athletic Director at Arlington Catholic High School, cautioned fellow members about the difficulty high school students would have in obtaining a traditional physical in the current climate.

The BOD approved a measure that anyone who was eligible from a physical standpoint by March 13, or receives permission from a physician via traditional or tele-conference physical between March 13 and May 4 will be eligible to participate starting May 4.

“These are unique times folks,” said Granatino during discussion about Rule 56.1. “The language we’re using here is likely things we never thought we’d utter.”

The number of calendar days needed for games to start was shifted from 11 to seven. That means, if practices are able to start on May 4, opening games could begin as early as May 11.

The meeting ended with the Board asking the TMC to develop a postseason play that it could return to the BOD by mid-April. A late motion from Shine that would follow the TMC’s recommendation on minimum and maximum games played was also passed. The minimum number of regular season games needed to qualify for the postseason would be eight, with the maximum number of regular season games set at 12. Teams that don’t qualify for the postseason can play more than 12 games.


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