Au­to­matic qual­i­fiers may be out

Boston Herald - - NBA/NHL SCOREBOARD/RACING - By DAN VEN­TURA Twit­ter: @Bos­tonHer­aldHS

FRANKLIN — The MIAA foot­ball com­mit­tee took an ini­tial step to­ward elim­i­nat­ing au­to­matic qual­i­fiers at yes­ter­day’s quar­terly meet­ing.

The com­mit­tee voted 19-0 in fa­vor of putting this is­sue to a per­ma­nent vote at the next meet­ing in May. The board now will get the in­for­ma­tion out to the mem­ber schools in the up­com­ing weeks.

“We started with two au­to­matic qual­i­fiers in each league and that cre­ated prob­lems,” said St. John’s Prep ath­letic di­rec­tor Jim O’Leary. “We went to one, but the way leagues have been break­ing off into four, five and six-team leagues, it just makes more sense to take the eight high­est-ranked teams in each sec­tion.”

One is­sue which came up was the glut of sub.-500 teams mak­ing the tour­na­ment. South tour­ney di­rec­tor Scott Paine pointed out that 14 of the 64 teams which made the field in his sec­tion sported los­ing records.

Mil­ton coach Steve Dem­bowski, the coaches’ rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the com­mit­tee, said the Mas­sachusetts High School Foot­ball Coaches As­so­ci­a­tion is work­ing on find­ing so­lu­tions.

In other news, the MIAA re­ceived a huge break last year when the Kraft fam­ily made Gil­lette Sta­dium avail­able on Fri­day night for two Su­per Bowl games, en­sur­ing that all eight games would be in Foxboro.

“We’re hop­ing to get in there again,” said MIAA as­so­ciate di­rec­tor Richard Pear­son. “The Krafts were very gen­er­ous in al­low­ing us the use of Gil­lette on Fri­day last year. We un­der­stand it’s tough, but we’re go­ing to work to try and make it hap­pen again.”

Nashoba Tech will be leaving Cen­tral Mass. to join the Com­mon­wealth Ath­letic Con­fer­ence. Pear­son said in or­der to re­main con­sis­tent with the way other schools landed in their sec­tion in the lat­est re­align­ment, it made sense to place them in Di­vi­sion 7 North.

De­spite a plea from North­east coach and ath­letic di­rec­tor Don­ald Heres that Nashoba is more suited for Div. 8, the com­mit­tee voted 12-6 with one ab­sten­tion in fa­vor of plac­ing the pro­gram in Div. 7.

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