Automatic qualifiers may be out
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.