MIAA Board OKs Plan to Limit Postseason to Sectional Tourneys -- If Season Happens

By Stephen DravisiBerkshires.com Sports
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The Massachusetts Intersholastic Athletic Association Board of Directors Monday decided that if there is a spring sports season, it will end with championships at the sectional level instead of moving on to a state tournament.
By a vote of 18-0, the board accepted the recommendation of the MIAA's Tournament Management Committee to wrap up sectional play by June 28 at the latest, the date previously approved by the board for the spring season.
Under the TMC plan, the last day for regular season competition in baseball, softball, lacross and tennis would be June 12 with seeding taking place on June 13.
Track and field would have a regular season cutoff of June 21 at 6 p.m. with entries submitted by June 22 and sectional meets scheduled for June 27 and 28; pentathlon competitions would be held, as usual, before the main sectional -- this year on June 25.
All of that would be contingent on schools reopening on May 4, the earliest date that schools and other non-essential businesses would be allowed to reopen under a closure ordered by Gov. Charlie Baker.
Baker repeatedly has left open the possibility of extending that closure date and reaffirmed that point Monday at his daily press availability in Boston.
"We said that at some point this month we would make a decision with respect to the schools, and we will," Baker said. "Commissioner [Jeffrey] Riley at the Department of Education and Secretary [James] Peyser at the Executive Office of Education spend a lot of time talking to their colleagues in local government, primarily superintendents and school committees and others."
With schools closed since mid-March, the regular preseason period for interscholastic athletics was put on hold until at least May 4; regular season games would start a week later.
That has meant no contact between spring sports coaches and their student-athletes, per the MIAA's regulations -- until Monday.
In a separate 18-0 vote, the Board accepted a recommendation to issue a partial waiver of the association's out-of-season coach-athlete contact limitations.
Any contact under the waiver must be voluntary and cannot impact a potential student-athlete's chances of making a team once the May 4 tryout period begins.
"It must be emphatically clear in all communications with student-athletes and parents that there are no requirements or expectations for student-athletes to participate, nor will there be any consequences if they choose not to participate," the recommendation reads.
On Monday afternoon, Mount Greylock Athletic Director Lindsey von Holtz, the current vice president of the MIAA Board of Directors, sent an email to her school community discussing the waiver.
"As of this morning, the out of season coaching rule has been waived for 2020 spring coaches," von Holtz wrote. :This means that in addition to the training/wellness ideas many coaches have been providing students, coaches are now able to send sport specific information/workouts to all potential team members.
"Coaches may send a video of a specific skill/drill and ask an athlete to try it in their backyard. They may send some film clips from a professional or college contest and ask athletes to watch something specific that occurs."
But there cannot be any kind of team workouts, von Holtz emphasized. Social distancing rules must be be observed, and student-athletes must train individually.
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