MIAA individual tennis tournaments will not return in 2022

    Questions related to qualifying standards, seeding and locations were among the reasons the MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee denied the proposal, according to Bohmiller.

    “I’m just baffled they would scrap it all together just because we couldn’t come up with an ideal plan,” Sharon athletic director Nick Schlierf said.

    Discussion quickly turned toward bringing the individual tournament back in future seasons. The individual tournament was not held in 2020 (COVID) or in 2021, when the MIAA tournament window was much tighter because of the delayed start to the spring season.

    “I find it very disappointing we’re not able to continue it this year in some form or function,” said Dave Bouchard, committee chair and athletic director at Quaboag. “That said, I think we’re all pretty committed to figuring this out and continuing to provide this opportunity. We will, but it may look a little different to meet the parameters and requirements of the TMC.”

    Comparisons were drawn to wrestling, which still utilizes individual sectional tournaments. But those tournaments also determine team champions, which differs from tennis.

    “There’s no apples to apples comparison,” Bohmiller said. “Tennis is unique.”

    A sub-committee will be formed with members from both the tennis and tournament management committees to discuss the issue.

    ▪ Former Cohasset athletic director Ron Ford has been appointed the state tournament director for tennis. He will be buffeted by three regional coordinators. Ford spoke about his vision for holding all state finals at Harvard University’s 18-court complex, which includes six courts with stadium seating. “My vision is to have the state finals be at a set site, and one that is special,” he said. “I would love the tennis tournament to be the Road to Harvard every year.” Talks about using Harvard’s facilities are still in the preliminary stage. Semifinal matches would be held at neutral locations across the state depending on the teams participating.

    ▪ Bohmiller also addressed a nationwide tennis ball shortage, recommending athletic directors and coaches purchase their balls “sooner rather than later.” She also noted that Wilson is no longer an MIAA sponsor, so further clarification on which brands of balls can be used in the tournament will need clarification.

    ▪ Other discussion included minimum standards for the quality of courts hosting matches in the statewide tournament. A survey will be sent out.

    Volleyball rule change on hold

    The future of rules 83.5.1 and 83.5.2 in the MIAA Handbook — a boy playing on a girls’ volleyball team in the fall (only if the school does not field a boys’ program) cannot play the ball in front of the 10 -foot line, nor participate in an attempted block—continues to be in a holding pattern.

    In a virtual meeting Tuesday, MIAA associate director Sherry Bryant said a rule change proposal did not accomplish what was intended, according to the association’s legal counsel. The MIAA is still seeking language that will be the “right fit.”

    The issue is that the net height for girls (7 feet, 4⅛ inches) and boys (7-11⅝) is significantly different.

    Jane Bergin, who coaches the Lexington boys and Andover girls, said the emphasis should be on creating more co-op teams. “Why are we banging our heads against the wall, we just keeping working on this,” she said. “Why are we so fixated on boys playing with girls. . . . This is a safety issue, about kids [girls] getting hurt.

    “We need to solve the problem.”

    A subcommittee will meet in the next few weeks with a goal of getting another proposal to the board of directors in the spring.

    ▪ The tournament formats for the 2022 Spring (boys) and Fall (girls) were approved. There was a lengthy discussion, however, on the minimum seating capacities for hosting postseason games. Winchester AD Marc Arria proposed following the guidelines, recently passed by the basketball and hockey committees, of 250 (preliminary and first rounds), 500 (Round of 16), and 1,000 (Round of 8/state quarterfinals). Barnstable coach Tom Turco, however, believed schools would be at a competitive disadvantage, if they had earned the right to host a state quarterfinal but did not have the seating capacity for 1,000 spectators, prompting a likely move to a neutral site. An advisory vote (the 10 members present did not meet the minimum for a quorum) resulted in a 5-5 deadlock.

    ▪ Also, the committee unanimously approved two national federation rule changes. For safety purposes, if the standards and official’s stand are not padded, there will be no play. Also, a team will be docked one point if it does not field a team with six players in an approved uniform.

    softball divisions

    The MIAA softball postseason will now feature five divisions, up from three, under the new statewide tournament realignment. In Tuesday’s virtual meeting, the committee passed a motion, 14-2, stating schools may move down a maximum of one division for 2022.

    A number of schools have appealed to move down more than one division, creating an even amount of participating teams in each division. For example, 80 out of the 327 softball-playing schools are in Division 5.

    The committee will look into special requests by schools such as those in the Boston City League that appeal to move down more than one division. There is no restraint, however, for schools that want to move up more than one division.

    Correspondent Matt Doherty reported from the softball meeting and Craig Larson of the Globe staff from the volleyball meeting.

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