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Tournaments to change?

By Bob Holmes
Globe Staff / October 5, 2011

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FRANKLIN - Should public and private schools be in separate tournaments? Would it make more sense to align schools based on a formula that would promote a more level playing field? Or should the MIAA leave a good thing alone? That was the prime discussion and the only vote taken at yesterday’s meeting of the MIAA board of directors.

In March, the MIAA received two proposals for changing how schools were aligned in postseason tournaments. On Aug. 26, the Tournament Management Committee sent a survey to principals asking them if the TMC should study the concept of changing the current system. The TMC did the same thing in researching the statewide football proposal that was ultimately voted down in April of 2010.

The results strongly supported change.

More than 72 percent of the 170 principals who responded said they’d like the TMC to study a tournament-multiplier system to align schools. Schools would be assigned a number based on their type and the number would be multiplied by their enrollment. For most public schools, the multiplier would be 1. Vocational schools might be .3, and private/Catholic schools 1.3. The effect would be to potentially boost private/Catholic schools up a division, and drop a vocational school down a division.

As for the concept of separate tournaments for public and private schools, 69 percent of the principals said the TMC should explore that format.

The one vote at yesterday’s meeting was 13-0-1 directing the TMC to separate the ideas and consider the possibility that the multiplier format might satisfy those who support separate tournaments. The next step, much like the football proposal, is a meeting of the TMC subcommittee sometime before Thanksgiving.

If the discussion produces a proposal, it likely would be put before a vote at the annual meeting March 30, and could go into effect next fall. A more likely scenario has any changes taking effect the fall of 2013, which is the start of the new four-year alignment cycle.

At the TMC meeting Monday, the committee approved a change in the Super 8 hockey tournament format. Starting with the 2013 tournament, first-round games will be a best-of-three format. The semifinals and final will remain single elimination. The format replaces the Olympic-style pool play the tournament currently uses . . . MIAA deputy director Bill Gaine will retire effective June 30 but will continue in a part-time capacity with the organization. Gaine joined the MIAA in 1979 . . . Board member and Concord-Carlisle athletic director Barry Haley reported that the school’s Kicks for Cancer event Saturday raised a record $25,000. In the previous four years combined, the event had raised $43,000 . . . MIAA executive director Richard Neal said the new concussion regulations have been “less daunting’’ than initially expected, thanks to the flexibility of the Department of Public Health. He also said the MIAA is in discussions that could result in amendments to the law . . . The Wrestling Committee meets today and is expected to discuss the possibility of making girls wrestling a spring sport . . . The board also was informed by Neal that “for the first time in decades, the association is litigation-free.’’

Bob Holmes can be reached at