By: Jake Loomis— Correspondent
After years of hard-fought rivalries, the MIAA ( Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association) decided to replace the playoff format that’s been in place since 2012 with the new power ratings system, in hopes that there will be more fair play within the teams participating in the Playoffs.
The power ratings system is designed to rank teams based on their strength of schedule and margin of victory to get a better basis of how good teams really are. The playoff is also making for some lengthy and expensive travel for some teams as a result of the playoff formating. The MIAA finals for the Football Playoffs though are scheduled for December 1st,2nd, and 6th at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. On Friday though Lynn tech in (D-8) will have to travel 145 miles to Hoosic Valley; Norton will travel 140 miles to Pittsfield and Easthampton will travel 118 miles to Rockland.
WCVB Sports Anchor Mike Lynch says that the MIAA ruined the playoffs. “The New MIAA playoff format kicks in this week. No more sectional rivalries that would insure huge crowds. Now Lawrence travels to Springfield, Lynn Tech to Hoosac Valley, Newburyport to Foxboro, Andover to Wachusett- Traveling nightmare. MIAA already ruined Thanksgiving now this,” said Lynch.
Sharon High Athletic Director Dr. Nick Schlierf says that there are a lot of positives to the new playoff format. “You are going to play different opponents and everybody has a fair shot to get the state championship,” said Schlierf.
“Under the old system when we had sectional rivalries we had to fight our way through the South Sectional in order to get to the final four we had two or three extra games over the central and west region which made it harder for us to make it to the final four then under this new statewide system,” he added.
Schlierf also says that the new system impacts travel among the teams competing. “Unfortunately with the brand new system that they put in place teams are traveling across the whole state in order to play games and taking a ferry ride in order to make their first and second round games possible which does seem an extreme,” said Schlierf.
“This is something that they will examine as they move forward from year one of this new statewide tournament. I know that they will put that into consideration as superintendents and principals which depend on the distance traveled for their teams,” added Schlierf.
Schlierf also says that the rivalries from the past have not been taken away by the new MIAA system. “We have Hockomock teams playing against each other in the early rounds of the tournaments and as we did in the sectional tournaments in previous years. So the rivalries will still be there,” he added.
“It’s just a matter of the rankings and the seeding and how the big brackets are built and you also have the experience to go against teams from the central and west whom you have never faced before which makes it kinda interesting and exciting at the same time,” Schlierf added.