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MIAA begins preparations for 2013 football season

FRANKLIN — Days short of Thanksgiving and less than a month from the Super Bowls at Gillette Stadium, the subject that dominated the MIAA Football Committee discussion Tuesday was a season almost a year away.

In the first meeting since the state’s high schools voted in a new football playoff format, the Football Committee began the process of instituting the new plan. Even though the 2013 season doesn’t start until Sept. 6-7, there were many details to discuss and deadlines laid out. And it starts almost as soon as the 2012 season ends.

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“I think everything is workable. I don’t think anything here surprised anyone. It’s a work in progress,’’ said committee chairman and Grafton principal James Pignataro. “The scheduling of teams is the big thing. How do your leagues look, who’s playing who? I think once that’s resolved, everything else falls into place. Making sure all the pieces are put in place, getting feedback from a lot of people, if we think things out, we’re going to be fine.”

By the end of the meeting, several important dates were established:

 Dec. 21: Deadline for schools to notify MIAA they will appeal their divisional or sectional placement.

 Jan. 10: Deadline for football sub-committees to have completed hearing all appeals.

 Jan. 11: Deadline to notify schools of the sub-committee’s decisions.

 Jan. 22: A special meeting of the Football Committee to hear appeals of the sub-committee decisions.

 May 9: Last Football Committee meeting for start of 2013 season.

 May 15: Tournament Management Committee meets and has the final say on any changes to divisional alignment.

The appeals process could be challenging, especially in EMass. With an even number of teams in each sectional the goal, if a team successfully appeals to move up or down a division, a corresponding team will have to move as well, although that point was a debate among members. To ensure that the committee doesn’t move a school without its knowledge, all schools involved in the sectionals of the appealing school will be invited to attend, leading committee member and Bishop Feehan athletic director Paul O’Boy to say, “We’re going to need a bigger building.”

The committee also learned that because of the September calendar, there will be an open week for each team next year. Teams open the season Sept. 6-7 and play seven regular-season games. But the playoffs don’t start until Nov. 1-2, meaning each school will have an open date.

.   .   .

Before the subject of 2013 was discussed, the playoff sites for the 2012 postseason were announced by EMass tournament director Jim O’Connor.

North sites for the Nov. 27 semifinals will be Lowell’s Cawley Stadium, Reading High School, Manning Field in Lynn, and Burlington High School. South sites will be Weymouth, Braintree, Taunton, and Bridgewater-Raynham high schools. Burlington and Braintree are new playoff sites.

The Super Bowls, Dec. 1, will be played at Gillette (4 games), Bentley (3), and Curry (2).

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