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MIAA Votes To Scrap Sectional Tournaments, Start Statewide Tournaments In 2021

Feb 28, 2020 07:58PM ● By Bill Gilman

Nate Tenaglia (4) scored 18 points to help Tewksbury knock off Belmont. 58-56 in the MIAA state tournament.

 The situation we had in football a year ago, playing in the [Division 3] Super Bowl against Springfield Central is wrong! They are nearly 2.5 times bigger than us, and our current enrollment numbers are 842 total students.In a move that will cause major changes to the way high school championships are contested in Massachusetts, the MIAA has voted to adopt statewide post-season tournaments in all team sports, starting in 2021.
Member schools voted 193-140, during a meeting at Assabet Valley Tech, in Marlboro, attended by reps from 333 of the 380 MIAA member schools.
Gone will be the current structure of four sectional tournaments -- Central, West, North and South -- leading to 4-school state tournaments in each team sport. Under the current system, schools are divided into divisions based on enrollment but only compared to other schools in their section of the state.
Under the new system, schools from across the state will be grouped into divisions based on enrollment compared to all MIAA schools. 
The top 32 teams in each division qualify for the postseason based on power ranking. Those rankings will be compiled by the web site MaxPreps, which has been contracted by the MIAA. Teams that achieve a regular season record above .500, but are outside the top 32, will also qualify for the postseason.
Proponents of the change say it will create a divisional alignment that will level the playing field when it comes to competing for state titles.
One of the most vocal supporters of the change is Tewksbury High Athletics Director Ron Drouin, who said the current system is broken and that his school has found itself fighting for championships against much bigger schools. 
Drouin recently penned an op-ed that ran as part of a Pro/Con piece in the Boston Globe.
"The situation we had in football a year ago, playing in the [Division 3] Super Bowl against Springfield Central is wrong! They are nearly 2.5 times bigger than us, and our current enrollment numbers are 842 total students." Drouin wrote, in part. 
Drouin also wrote that the new system should open up scheduling options for athletics directors.
"Our stronger programs will be able to schedule whoever they choose, without much worry, and still accumulate a quality power ranking through MaxPreps," he wrote. "Our programs that struggle a bit have the option to schedule looking for 10 wins to qualify for postseason play."

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