The _Massachusetts High School Football Coaches Association_ is waiting to hear the fate of its latest playoff proposal when the MIAA Football Committee meets Monday to decide whether or not it should move forward with the proposal and recommend it to the Tournament Management Committee to review at its March 19 meeting.
_The Boston Globe reported on March 1_ the MIAA board of directors isn't comfortable with the sense of urgency the MHSFCA has to get the proposal to the Tournament Management Committee and have it put to a vote at the March 30 MIAA annual meeting.
Stoughton High School football coach Greg Burke and former Medfield High School football coach Vin Joseph have led the charge to alter and expand high school football playoffs in Massachusetts with the ultimate goal of giving more teams an opportunity to play in the postseason and for the state to finally crown a true state champion in the sport.
"Right now, we are the only sport in the state that doesn’t have a state champion," Joseph said. "Last year we had 19 football champions."
Joseph expanded on the benefits of the proposed playoff system.
"The other thing is to increase the postseason opportunities," he said. "Right now, in every other sport, there are between 40 and 60 percent participation [in postseason play], whether it be tennis or hockey. Football’s participation is 17 percent. We would like to double that participation and at the same time work toward a true state champion."
Joseph said the proposal would increase the amount of teams qualifying for the postseason through a power rating system similar to college football's BCS.
"There are some wild card [spots] involved," Joseph said. "The system is based on a point system and a power rating system, much like the BCS, where you are rewarded for playing teams above you. You also get rewarded for your opponents’ victories as well."
Joseph added that teams not in postseason contention towards the end of the season will still be playing in competitive games.
"It also provides a system of play for non-qualifiers similar to an NIT tournament," Joseph said. "In those last three weeks of season, if you haven’t qualified, typically you have a team sitting there that’s 2-6 and at the end of their season they’re just holding their breath trying to get to Thanksgiving. This way, if they’re 2-6, they’re going to be playing a team that’s 2-6. Then next week, if they win they’ll be 3-6 and they will play a team that’s 3-6. It makes that last few weeks competitive leading into Thanksgiving Day."
The proposal outlines the following goals:
- Have a state champion in six divisions
- Maintain league and Thanksgiving Day games
- Increase postseason opportunities for student-athletes in football
- Improve safety by eliminating the format of playing three postseason games in nine days
To view the complete proposal, _click here_.
"If we want a state champion in football then we need to do something," Joseph said. "We need to do something and the MIAA recognizes that. ... We are still the only state that doesn’t have a true state champion."
The Boston Globe reports if the MIAA Football Committee votes to send the proposal to the Tournament Management Committee and it approves it on March 19, then the MIAA board of directors "can simply go along with it and the state has a new playoff system starting in 2013, or push it to a membership vote at the 2013 annual meeting."
If the proposal is pushed to a membership vote, then it would likely be delayed until the 2015 season, according to the Globe.
Joseph said some negatives he has heard regarding the MHSFCA's latest proposal centers around scheduling.
"The people from the extremely small leagues, they’re nervous that the people they ordinarily play will be playing the people in their league first and won’t be able to get games," said Joseph. "The fact is there should be plenty of opportunities for them to still play those teams.
"[Another] criticsm was that you could play somebody twice or if you get into the playoffs you could play somebody three times. ... The scheduling committee is going to try to not let that happen because we think the teams don’t want that to happen."
Joseph hopes the MIAA sees the true value in giving more teams and players the opportunity to play for a true state football championship in an once-in-a-lifetime environment.
"We are the only state that plays their playoffs in a professional stadium," Joseph said. "But we are still the only state that doesn’t have a true state champion. To not take advantage of that opportunity, to be able to say to your kids at the beginning of the year, 'if we do this right you’re going to be playing for a state championship in Gillette [Stadium], that’s pretty powerful stuff."
So, we want to know ...
Today's question: Do you think the MIAA should adopt the MHSFCA's high school football playoff proposal?