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Addressing concerns from schools, MIAA details plans for statewide tournament, power ratings system

Sam Coelho (right) and the Nauset Regional boys' soccer team are ranked No. 1 in the Globe's Top 20 poll.
Sam Coelho (right) and the Nauset Regional boys' soccer team are ranked No. 1 in the Globe's Top 20 poll.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

High school sports across Massachusetts are into the second full week of the fall season, the first that will conclude with the MIAA’s statewide tournament, one that uses a power ratings system to select and seed teams.

During a virtual meeting Wednesday, the MIAA’s Tournament Management Committee got an initial review of a pair of documents — a breakdown of statewide tournament policies and procedures, and an overview of the power ratings system — that it hopes will answer any questions or concerns from member schools.

MIAA associate director Sherry Bryant said the plan is to have the documents on the association’s website and available to member schools by the end of the week. Here are some of the highlights:


▪ The MIAA plans to publish power ratings once per week for each sport on its website, with a target date for the first ratings being the final week of September.

▪ All games played before the designated cutoff will count toward the power ratings. League or sectional championships can be considered “exclusion games” for the purpose of exceeding the maximum games allowed for a sport, but still would count for the power ratings if played by the cutoff date.

▪ Each sport, with the exception of football, will qualify the top 32 power-seeded teams in each division regardless of record, plus any additional teams with a .500 or better record.

▪ Football will power-seed the top 16 teams in each division with at least three victories and seven games played.

▪ After a motion from St. Mary’s athletic director Jeff Newhall, passed by a 15-0 vote, the power ratings will go to four decimal places before any need for tiebreakers.

▪ A team’s power rating is a combination of its adjusted average margin of victory, plus the average of its opponents’ ratings. Margin of victory is capped for each sport; for fall sports, it is 3 for soccer, field hockey, and girls’ volleyball, and 14 for football. (The power ratings are not used for cross-country, swimming, or golf.)


▪ An out-of-state opponent counts for the power ratings as if it were an MIAA team, generating its own rating for calculation purposes based on how many MIAA games it plays.

▪ The MIAA is stressing the importance of schools reporting results within 24 hours on its Arbiter scheduling platform, in order to assure accuracy of the power ratings.

▪ Ticket prices through state quarterfinals will be capped at $10 for adults and $5 for students, then $10 for state semifinals and championships, with the exception of venues such as Gillette Stadium and TD Garden. Beginning with the Round of 16, tickets can be purchased only online.

▪ Wellesley AD John Brown posed a question from another school as to whether teams could consider taking a forfeit, rather than a no-contest, for power ratings purposes, as was determined by the TMC at its Sept. 1 meeting. Committee chair Jim O’Leary (St. John’s Prep) said he hoped schools would not attempt to skirt COVID protocols to manipulate the power ratings.

Jim Clark can be reached at jim.clark@globe.com.