MIAA not taking playoffs off table for football in Fall II season

Lee coach Keith Thomson and the rest of Berkshire County football may have a chance for postseason play, as the MIAA Tournament Management Committee is taking a wait-and-see approach for the Fall II schedule in 2021.

The members of the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Associations football committee are moving the ball forward, so to speak, in preparation for a Fall II season in the late winter/early spring time frame.

Not much is, to date, known about what Fall II will look like for football coaches and athletes, but it is conceivable that there could be some sort of playoff structure involved.

"We have not taken tournaments off the board at this time," said St. John's Prep athletic director Jim O'Leary, a member of the Football Committee and the MIAA's Tournament Management Committee.

"We had the same approach in the spring time and it's one of those wait-and-sees," O'Leary said during a video committee meeting Tuesday morning. "The length of the season, what a tournament would look like. What if some district decides to go past the dates that were set, and that would make them ineligible for a tournament at that time, which might have some impact on it.

"At this time, it's on our agenda, but we'll see what the [MIAA Board of Directors] does at the end of October to get some guidance from that."

The members of the football committee were told that the possibility of a Fall II postseason exists because the tea leaves are still unreadable.

Richard Pearson is an associate director of the MIAA, and he said that decisions on what the Fall II season, and the Winter season could be made during the regular fall season. It would all depend, Pearson said, on how things are transpiring.

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"I can tell you that my indications and understanding are before much movement will happen for Winter or Fall II, or spring, a few weeks need to progress through the current fall modified season to see where we are," Pearson told the Football Committee.

The Fall II season, according to the MIAA, is scheduled to start Feb. 22 and run until April 25. Football, unified basketball and fall cheer were moved to Fall II. The COVID-19 Task Force also gave schools the option of moving regular fall sports from the Sept. 18-Nov. 20 window into Fall II.

In Berkshire County, several school districts have elected to play golf and run cross-country in the regular fall timeline, but move boys and girls soccer and cross-country into Fall II. There was no option of playing football in the regular fall window.

"We could ask this committee in October with thoughts and ideas to propose what Fall II would look like," said Pearson. "Allowing people to think about it and kind of digest it and focus on it. If we schedule another meeting in October, maybe we could come to that meeting with more ideas and clarity."

The football committee will reconvene on Oct. 14 at 10 a.m., to discuss plans for a Fall II football season.

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com, at @howardherman on Twitter, or 413-496-6253.