MIAA tournaments cancelled

Drury, shown here after winning the 2020 Western Massachusetts Division IV boys basketball tournament, will be a champion for another year after the MIAA Board of Directors voted 20-0 to not hold winter sports tournaments.

The Mount Greylock boys and the Lenox girls will get a chance to hold onto their Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association state Nordic Skiing championships for another year, while four county basketball teams will be reigning Western Massachusetts champions for a second year. That’s because there will not be any MIAA-sanctioned sectional or state championships for winter sports.

The MIAA’s Board of Directors met virtually on Thursday, and voted unanimously to not have sectional or state tournaments for this winter sports season.

“This was a vote of the TMC last week,” said Jeff Granatino, Board of Directors president and superintendent in Marshfield. It is also the same vote that the Board of Directors took in the fall, when it decided against MIAA-sanctioned tournaments for the fall sports that took place.

It has been said before that if leagues or regions want to hold their own post-season tournaments, they would be free to do so.

The Taconic and Drury boys basketball teams and the Taconic and Hoosac Valley girls will be the reigning Western Mass. champions in their respective divisions for another year.

The MIAA Board of Directors also approved a schedule for the winter season, starting the season on Nov. 30 and having the season end on Feb. 21.

It was a unanimous vote of the TMC, and a 20-0 unanimous vote by the MIAA’s Board of Directors.

“Without a winter tournament to worry about, you have this ability. I know of some other leagues that have planned to back themselves off the 30th, just because of the comfort level of that region,” said Thom Holdgate, the athletic director at Duxbury High School, a member of the Board of Directors and the co-chairman of the MIAA’s COVID-19 Task Force. “You have this wiggle room.”

The schedule is awaiting a ruling from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs on youth and amateur sports. The EEA will make a decision, expected in early November, as to what sports could be played and under what circumstances.

“We are still waiting from the guidance from the EEA,” Holdgate said.

Once the EEA makes its announcement, each MIAA individual sport committee has to present its plans to the Sports Medicine Committee. When that is approved, the plans go to the COVID-19 Task Force and then to the Board of Directors.

“If we don’t see this guidance by the ninth, we may recommend a delay to the start of the winter season,” Holdgate told the Board. “We’re hopeful that if we do get it by then, we can quickly go through and have everything in place for the 30th. Just in case we don’t, we want to give the Board a heads-up that we may, in fact, need to delay it.”

Mount Greylock athletic director Lindsey Von Holtz is the Board’s vice president, and mentioned that without MIAA-sanctioned postseason tournaments, schools might have some room to move contests around on the calendar.

“I’m just trying to make sure people are clear, since we originally voted on Nov. 30 in that first meeting. But we said that leagues, districts would have the ability to adjust on their own, as long as it got approved by a district,” she said.

“As much as you may want to start on the 30th,” Holdgate said in response, “you may not actually get the modifications from the MIAA if we’re delayed past the 9th. Basically, we’re all hoping that we can start on the 30th. In case we don’t, we may recommend that we delay the start of the season, to give all the groups involved enough time to create the modifications for play.”

Howard Herman can be reached at hherman@berkshireeagle.com or

413-496-6253.

Sportswriter-Columnist

Howard Herman is a sports columnist at The Berkshire Eagle. The dean of full-time sportswriters in Western Mass., he has been with the Eagle since 1988, and is a member of the New England Baseball and Basketball Hall of Fame.