Tournament still alive

Published April 3, 2020

The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s Board of Directors held a conference call meeting yesterday consisting of over 30 participants representing the board, the Tournament Management Committee (TMC), MIAA staff and members of the press.

Discussions were focused on the recommendations brought to the board from the TMC’s March 19 meeting regarding the spring sports season.

A motion passed unanimously to determine that the spring season will begin no earlier than May 4 and will be completed by June 27 with consideration of June 28 for weather and/or facility needs.

This means there is still a possibility of spring tournaments. The TMC will schedule meetings to set forth proposed tournament guidelines based on yesterday’s votes.

Those votes mean that spring practice can start on May 4 and games can begin May 11. As it stands, the minimum number of games to qualify for the postseason is eight and the maximum is 12. The parameters of the tournament will be determined later by the TMC.

During a fluid situation in which the MIAA is trying to make decisions that are dependent on the state’s public health announcements, it is important to understand that all of these guidelines from the MIAA can change any day.

Even their own decisions have been overruled. The TMC had voted earlier in the month that postseason tournaments would not occur if school was pushed past an April 27 start date. The Board of Directors had the power to amend that vote and by extending the season an extra week from June 20 to June 27, a tournament is still possible.

In addition to postseason teams, the board voted 10-9 in favor of sub-varsity and non-tournament qualifiers will be able to play games until June 27.

The board also voted to waive the 13-month rule for physicals providing that the student athlete’s physical was up to date on March 13 or that a virtual physical or physicians note giving permission to the student athlete to participate is received between March 14 and May 4.

They also voted to waive Rule 58.1 on Academic Eligibility, allowing for each principal to individually determine their own local academic eligibility standard for the 2020 spring season.

Overall, spring student athletes and coaches now have some hope that part of their seasons can be salvaged. While certainly subject to change during this dynamic situation, spring sports are not over yet.