FRANKLIN, Mass. -- After some heated debate this morning and stretching into the early afternoon at MIAA headquarters, the Dual County League won its appeal 11-3 to stay in Division 1A for football, after the latest realignment proposal laid out last June had slotted the league to move up to Division 1. And with the Greater Boston League having voted to uphold the proposal moving them down a division from Division 1, that left an odd man out.
That odd man, with no representation at this morning's MIAA Football Committee meeting, ended up being the Bay State Conference's Carey Division, by a vote of 8-4. Starting next fall, the Carey will be in Division 1, and its league champion will face the Big 3 champion in a playoff for the rights to go to the Super Bowl against the winner of the Merrimack Valley Large/Catholic Conference champion.
Several league athletic directors had not yet been informed of the decision when reached for comment at approximately 2:30 p.m. Newton North athletic director Tom Giusti, for one, was surprised and had not heard when reached by phone by an ESPNBoston.com reporter.
"We'll do what we have to do," said Giusti, whose Tigers used to face Brockton annually in the seven-team Suburban League before it disbanded in 1990. "As long as it is fairly evaluated, I think that's fine. Traditionally, we've played Division 1 teams before, as we've done in everything else, but obviously football is another beast."
So is it fair for the Bay State to have to face Brockton every year?
"Somebody has to play them, right?" Giusti laughed.
From an average boys' enrollment standpoint, the Bay State Carey holds a slight edge over the DCL Large and GBL, with around 900 boys to less than 850. But from a competitive standpoint, it's hard to argue with the success of the GBL, participants in three of the last four Super Bowls and champions of two of them (2006 and 2007). The Carey has not won a playoff game since Newton North beat Westford to advance to the 2005 Division 1A Super Bowl, while the DCL has not won at the 1A level since Wayland took it all in 2006.
The deliberators were also willing to address the elephant in the room -- Everett, winners of 15 straight GBL titles and seven Super Bowls since 1997 -- in their debate, though by the look of the vote it wasn't the end all.
Here is how the playoff structure will look like starting next fall, with winners from A&B and C&D squaring off in the Tuesday playoff:
A) Merrimack Valley Large
B) Catholic Conference
C) Big 3
D) Bay State Carey
A) Greater Boston
B) Northeastern Large
C) Old Colony
D) Dual County Large
A) Merrimack Valley Small
B) Middlesex Large
C) Hockomock Large
D) Patriot Keenan
A) Cape Ann Large
B) Middlesex Small
C) Bay State Herget
D) Atlantic Coast
A) Dual County Small
B) Tri-Valley Large
C) Hockomock Small
D) Patriot Fisher
A) Northeastern Small
B) Cape Ann Small
C) Eastern Athletic
D) South Coast
A) Catholic Central Large
B) Commonwealth Large
C) Tri-Valley Small
D) South Shore
A) Catholic Central Small
B) Commonwealth Small
C) Boston North
D) Mayflower Large
A) Boston South
B) Mayflower Small
A few other notes from this morning's meeting:
-- The playoff and Super Bowl sites were unveiled for the 2010 postseason. Eastern Mass Super Bowls for Dvisions 1 through 3A will be played at Gillette Stadium, while Division 4 and 4A should be unveiled by the end of the week, with Curry College a likely site.
The rest of the sites are as follows:
EMass North playoffs: Lowell, Lynn, Reading, Lincoln-Sudbury
EMass South playoffs: Weymouth, Taunton, Bridgewater-Raynham, Holliston or Needham
CMass playoffs: Foley Stadium (Worcester), Doyle Field (Leominster), Wachusett, Oakmont, Auburn, Lunenburg
CMass Super Bowls: Fitchburg State (three), Worcester State (three)
WMass playoffs: Westfield State, Chicopee Comp, Holyoke, Mahar
WMass Super Bowls: Westfield State (four)
-- The committee voted unanimously in favor of allowing high school coaches of one sport to be involved in an out-of-season activity of another sport during the off-season, provided that coach doesn't compete at the varsity level. Previously, they were only allowed to do so during the summer.
-- First contact of high school coaches with eighth-graders was moved from June 1 to May 1, by a vote of 16-2, for the singular purpose of providing organizational information.
-- Many of the scheduled appeals for this morning from Central Mass schools involving their own realignment were tabled, after the Central Mass Football Committee presented a new six-division alignment to be voted on Dec. 9. Many of the appeals had been based on the previous seven-division alignment the committee was prepared to present. Deadline for appeals were set for Nov. 15.