Even though the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association voted earlier this month to cancel postseason tournaments for the fall season, work continues for the Tournament Management Committee.
The TMC met virtually Thursday with one eye on tournaments that might be able to take place for the winter, fall II and spring seasons, and the other eye cast on the 2021-22 school year, which will see the introduction of statewide tournaments.
The latter topic took up a good chunk of the 30-minute meeting.
While the proposal to replace the traditional regional playoff system with a statewide one was overwhelming approved (58% in favor) by member schools at a special assembly in February, there was concern from both sides about the ranking system that would be used to determine seeding.
“We are committed to a power-ranking system,” TMC chairman and former St. John’s Prep athletic director Jim O’Leary said. “That is clear, that is part of our mandate by the statewide vote.”
He then acknowledged membership has “loudly and clearly” let it be known there are concerns that need to be addressed.
O’Leary also noted the statewide proposal adopted doesn’t specify MaxPreps, which is considered the front-runner to handle rankings, but has proved to be decisive with membership, would in fact be used.
So the TMC subcommittee that previously looked at the power rankings issue will reconvene to reexamine the matter.
The plan, said MIAA associate director Sherry Bryant, is “to have clarity around this ranking system, whatever it’s going to look like,” by the end of November.
The subcommittee will bring in members from outside the TMC to assist in the review process in a bid to make sure everyone’s voice is heard, not just those of principals and athletic directors.
“I know there are a lot of people in the state that had an awful lot of opinions and an awful lot to say about the ranking system,” Westboro AD Johanna DiCarlo, who serves on the subcommittee, said before offering up the thought that it’s better to get their suggestions prior to rather than after selecting something.
In other matters:
• MIAA fall tournaments are canceled, but Bryant said the four-season structure in place for this school year provides an opportunity for tournaments to take place in the winter, fall II and spring.
However, the TMC will wait until the EEA reassesses risk and participation levels prior to each season and the COVID-19 Task Force reviews that information before making any decisions with an open mind that includes, Bryant said, thinking “a little out of the box, as well.”
While work will progress in the coming months, it’s unlikely any decisions won’t be made until January at the earliest.
• The MIAA COVID-19 Task Force was scheduled to meet Thursday afternoon to review modifications proposed by individual sports committees for fall sports to be in compliance with Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Affairs guidelines. (Think staggered starts for cross-country and no throw-ins in soccer.)
“Just look at, rubber stamp and push forward,” Hull AD Scott Paine, who serves on the TMC and the task force, said of what he expected to occur.
Bryant said the timeline to release said modifications to “the membership and communities at large” is by Sept. 21. Fall sports begin Sept. 18 with preseason practices.
• The only vote of the day, which was unanimous, was to push back the timeline for announcing divisional alignments for the 2021-22 school year from Sept. 1 to Oct. 1. The appeals process was pushed back a month as well.
Central Mass. is represented on the TMC by Monty Tech athletic director Dave Reid and Douglas assistant principal Desi Vega in District 2, and Shrewsbury principal Todd Bazydlo and DiCarlo in District 3.
The next TMC meeting is scheduled for Sept. 24.
Contact Rich Garven at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @RichGarvenTG.
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