MIAA Board Approves Sectional Play for Spring Sports
FRANKLIN, Mass. -- The first Massachusetts high school teams to lose their sectional tournaments will be the first ones to get a chance to get back to post-season play.
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Board of Directors Friday approved a MIAA sponsored post season sectional tournament for the 2021 spring season.
The vote came one year after the MIAA board suspended high school sports, canceling the state finals in basketball and hockey, due to the COVID-19 pandmeic. That decision ultimately led to the cancelation of the entire spring 2021 season.
When MIAA sports returned this fall, teams were not allowed to travel outside their immediate region, and no post-season tournament play was offered.
On Friday, the MIAA Board met with representatives of its COVID-19 Task Force to talk about spring sport modifications and recommendations for the 2020-21 year.
“Throughout the 2020-2021 school year the MIAA, it’s various sports specific committees, the Tournament Management Committee, the Sports Medicine Committee, the Covid-19 Task Force along with the Board of Directors have spent countless hours trying to find ways to once again provide athletic opportunities for the hundreds of thousands of high school students across the commonwealth," MIAA President Jeffrey Granatino said.
The MIAA Board of Directors voted to approve sport-specific modifications for the following spring sports: baseball, golf, lacrosse, tennis, rugby, softball, track and field, Unified track and field and boys volleyball (Boys). At this time, wresting awaits approval from the commonwealth's Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs for competition status, thus modifications were not presented.
Sport modifications will continue to be reviewed as they relate to current regulations surrounding COVID-19 and, if necessary, may be modified. Additional modifications or the decision to participate in MIAA recognized spring sports is determined by local school districts and/or their local Boards of Health. You may view the MIAA sport modifications on the MIAA COVID-19 webpage here.
In addition to deciding to hold four sectional tournaments -- West, Central, North and South -- the MIAA Board Friday decided to survey its membership about potentially adding dates for state semi-final and championship contests.
“I am reminded that one year ago today, the MIAA Board of Directors took the undesirable action to cancel state tournament finals in basketball and ice hockey,” MIAA Executive Director Bill Gaine said. “I am thrilled that this day has come through a comprehensive effort of Tournament Management members, COVID Task Force members and Board members to reinstate the tournament structure for 35,000 MIAA Spring student-athletes in a safe and responsible structure. I salute all involved in this important effort.”
The Board of Directors approved the recommendation to discontinue out-of-season coaching in member schools for those sports in which they have completed an interscholastic season.
“I want to thank the members of those various committees who have spent so much time on bringing forth these proposals,” Granatino said. “It’s been an arduous task for all involved but they've done it because they care about our student-athletes and everyone involved has worked to ensure our students have the ability to take part in the sports they love.”
The MIAA COVID-19 Task Force will conclude its work with the start of the spring season. The recommendation is for the MIAA to return to the typical three-season structure for the 2021-22 school year with Sports Medicine Committee providing any COVID-19 modifications or adjustments to the Board of Directors.
The spring season time frame is April 26 to July 3, 2021, after the conclusion of the "Fall 2" season that begins this month, when Berkshire County schools plan to offer sports like soccer, volleyball and football that were not offered last fall.