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Tests or Title: Did MIAA Make the Right Call Making Baseball Players Choose?

Chelmsford and Methuen baseball players had to decide whether to take the SATs or play in a semifinal game when the MIAA would not reschedule the contest.

The MIAA was involved in controversy over the weekend. (Matt Schooley Photo)
The MIAA was involved in controversy over the weekend. (Matt Schooley Photo)
Chelmsford and Methuen baseball players found themselves in a tricky position on Saturday after a decision by the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association that many believed forced the student-athletes to choose between academics or athletics.

The two teams were originally scheduled to play in the North Division 1 semifinal game on Thursday, but with it clear early in the week that rain was in the forecast, the schools asked the MIAA to move the game to Tuesday in anticipation of the bad weather.

The reason? Both schools had players scheduled to take the SATs on Saturday, when the game would have been moved to in the event of a rain out. In addition, Chelmsford's graduation was scheduled for 6 p.m. with students asked to arrive by 4 p.m.

Despite both sides agreeing to play earlier in the week, the MIAA declined, saying that moving the site of the game to Lynn would lead to lower attendance numbers than playing in Lowell closer to home for each semifinalist.

On Thursday, night, the rain came as expected. And controversy followed.

The MIAA rescheduled the semifinal tilt for Saturday at 10 a.m., square in the middle of the SATs. On Friday, Methuen and Chelmsford asked the MIAA again to move the game, but were again denied.

Both teams considered boycotting the Saturday game, but opted to play. Chelmsford took the field without four players, while Methuen hit the diamond without three players.

“We wanted to provide everyone with an equal opportunity to play a game at a terrific venue with a great atmosphere,” MIAA associate executive director Richard Pearson said, according to the Boston Herald. “We felt Chelmsford had plenty of time to play their game before the graduation.”

Methuen and Chelmsford, however, disagreed.

"They made the ruling, and I was not pleased with the ruling," Chelmsford head coach Mike O'Keefe told Patch.

O'Keefe's team went on to win Saturday's game by a 7-5 margin, advancing to Sunday's North Division 1 championship. The Lions then lost to Andover, 6-3, in the title game.

The Chelmsford head coach said he hopes in the offseason the MIAA, its coaches and athletics directors can work together to make changes so a similar situation does not arise in the future.

"I would hope so. If that is what comes out of this, than that would be great for all of the teams in all sports," said O'Keefe. "We don't want to have kids have to make that choice. It was unfortunate that it happened. The MIAA is in a tough position with all the games it has to schedule. But I think flexibility when it comes to a major academic event like that needs to be considered."

What is your take on the situation? Did the MIAA make the right decision not to move the game, or should the contest have been rescheduled to accommodate the players taking the test? Let us know in the comments section below.  

Donna Reed June 12, 2014 at 04:31 PM
Fred....you sound like you are carrying some bitterness around. Not sure towards what....parents perhaps? the Kids maybe? This argument has nothing at all to do with parents fighting their kids battles, OR with kids growing up and joining the real world. But the MIAA has NOTHING without the money AND the players that these parents are putting into their coffers. No players equals no games, which in turn equals NO MONEY for the MIAA....so if the parents aren't able to speak up.....hhhmmmm....who is? THEIR the ones holding the checkbooks buddy. My guess is you could care LESS about the play-off games, OR the MIAA OR the SAT's...you just want to argue with everyone.....perhaps you should find another thread to pour your anger and bitterness into. Because you CLEARLY don't have a valid argument here, or even a relevant comment regarding the issue...you're just busy disagreeing with everyone....And if everyone else on this thread is smart..they'll simply ignore you..if we all stop responding, you'll have no one to disagree with and maybe you'll just slither away.
Donna Reed June 12, 2014 at 04:32 PM
And I'm really not sure WHAT would make you say the 'parents suck"? What did ANYONE say to you to make you refer to them that way? That really wasn't necessary......
Tom June 12, 2014 at 05:02 PM
The MIAA has repeatedly re-scheduled during SAT and other academic events. Perhaps it will be illegal soon. http://www.gazettenet.com/home/12297960-95/john-scibak-miaa-fails-test-of-educational-priorities-with-refusal-to-fix-game-conflict
Marcia Reinhagen Sullivan June 13, 2014 at 08:05 AM
Fred, in the real world, taking the SAT would be the job, since they are students first and playing a game would come in a distant second. The MIAA was way out of line in this.

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