MIAA Board of Directors Cancels Winter Tournaments

October 30, 2020 / Athletic AdministrationBasketballHockeySwimmingWrestling
The Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association (MIAA) announced there will be no winter sports postseason tournaments for the 2020-21 school year.

The MIAA Board of Directors voted 20-0 on Thursday to cancel all playoffs for the winter sports season, according to a report from The Patriot Ledger. This marks the third-straight high school season where sectional and state champions will be crowned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ledger wrote.

Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Dating back to last March, the remaining of the 2019-20 winter season was stopped the day before basketball and hockey state championship games though the finalists were crowned co-champions.

Also worthy of note, the MIAA Tournament Management Committee voted unanimously to adopt the current fall template — which limits scheduling within leagues and/or small geographic areas and cancels postseason play — for the winter season, according to the Ledger.

Under the current “four-season” plan that the MIAA had previously adopted, the 2020-21 winter season is supposed to run from Nov. 30-Feb. 21. According to the Ledger, the Board on Thursday unanimously approved the start and end dates. However, the start date comes with an asterisk — the MIAA needs updated state health guidelines from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) by Nov. 9; if the guidelines are announced after that date, the start of the winter season could be delayed.

“Without a winter tournament to worry about, you have this ability” to be flexible with the start date of the winter season, Holdgate said in the meeting, according to the Ledger. “I know of leagues that have already planned to back themselves off of the (Nov.) 30th (date) just because of the comfort level of that region. Now you have this wiggle room. … We just simply don’t want to move it off the 30th yet if we don’t have to because we realize that there are parts of the Commonwealth that are hoping that they can start on the 30th.”

Under current state health guidelines, four winter sports — hockey, basketball, wrestling, and winter cheer — are deemed “high risk” and would not be allowed to compete. In a worst-case scenario, those sports could be pushed back to the Fall 2 season (Feb. 22-April 25), which already is home to the high-risk sports (football, fall cheer, unified basketball) that got bumped out of the original fall season.

To read the full report from The Patriot Ledger on the MIAA canceling the winter sports postseason, click here