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MIAA football playoff ‘concept’ a step closer

FRANKLIN - The proposal for a statewide football playoff system inched closer to reality Monday when the MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee voted 15-0 in favor of the concept.

Although “concept’’ replaced “proposal’’ in the motion, there is more work ahead for members of the Football Committee, many of whom had hoped they would leave Franklin with a done deal.

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The MIAA committee embraced the concept but requested details on how it would affect MIAA finances, had questions about the power-rating system and how scheduling would be handled for teams that didn’t qualify for the playoffs in Weeks 8-10. The MIAA expects answers at its May 10 meeting.

“We have to nail down the schedule for non-qualifiers and we have to decide among ourselves what we think is the best way to go,’’ said Medfield assistant football coach Vin Joseph, one of the architects of the plan. “They’re either going to like it or not, vote it up or down.’’

“We’re much closer and we’re in good shape as far as I’m concerned,’’ said Xaverian athletic director and football coach Charlie Stevenson. “They clearly voted 15-0 to accept the concept. They said, ‘We like that, that’s good.’ I think we can answer their issues and give a great plan to them and in May they’ll vote to support it.’’

As for concerns with finances, the MIAA receives playoff revenue from 55 games; under the new plan, that number drops to 38, which includes the number of Super Bowls going from 19 to 6 in the new plan.

Swampscott coach Steve Dembowski said the proposal will bring in more money than the current system.

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“I think the finances will be a non-issue,’’ said Dembowski. “We feel we could blow away the figures from the past three years. We feel the money will be there.’’

His confidence comes from playoff games being held in better weather in early November, and with those games carrying the importance of advancing toward a state title.

The two-year pilot proposal would create a real state championship with six divisions. Leagues would be maintained, as would Thanksgiving rivalries. The plan would eliminate the current three games in nine days schedule, including the Tuesday night semifinals, and would reduce the number of games after Thanksgiving from 74 to 12.

The Tournament Management Committee voted to increase the number of divisions in indoor track to five starting in 2013. The number of schools with track programs has increased by 78 since 2001 . . . A proposal to expand Division 4 basketball into Central and Western Mass. was tabled to the next meeting. Members of the Basketball Committee said it was possible some EMass schools along Route 495 might have to compete in the CMass tournament. The committee wanted more details . . . A proposal to create separate tournaments for public and private schools was voted down, 13-0, with one abstention. Committee member and St. Peter-Marian athletic director Rich Riley said, “It was not in the best interest of the MIAA to move forward with this.’’

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