By Mike Flanagan
Hometown Weekly Sports Editor
The MIAA has pushed back the potential start of the 2020 spring athletic season to May 4, at the earliest, the organization announced on March 30. Originally scheduled to resume on April 27, the decision to push back the start of the season an extra week was in light of recent updates with COVID-19 continuing to ravage the United States and quarantine extending until the end of April.
Best case scenario, it looks like there will be an eight-week spring athletic season from May 4 - June 27. Sports such as baseball and softball will have their regular season schedule cut from 20 games down to a minimum of eight and maximum of 12. Lacrosse, which normally plays between 16-18 games, will also see just 8-12 regular season games. For sports such as tennis and track, it remains to be seen how many meets and matches will be cut, or whether more three or four-team dual-meets could be held.
As for postseason play, it appears that sports such as softball, baseball and lacrosse will take up a style similar to the MIAA’s football playoff system. Teams will need to play between 8-12 games in order to qualify for the postseason. Teams that fail to qualify for the postseason will play consolation games against one another but will be allowed to go over the 12-game maximum. Once eliminated from postseason contention, teams will be allowed to play more consolation games against other eliminated teams up until the June 27 end date.
The MIAA still has not decided on bracket styles for baseball, softball and lacrosse. A state-wide tournament proposal was recently approved to begin in the fall of 2021, dropping the normal sectional tournament style which includes three divisions (I, II, III) split up into six sectional North, South, East, West, Central/East and Central/West. Due to current circumstances, there is a good chance the MIAA eliminates sectionals for spring 2020 and just opts for an all-state tournament for each division in order to make the best of the small window of time. The MIAA is going to reconvene in the coming weeks to solidify the May 4 start date and determine the exact postseason tournament format for all sports.
For funny and incisive sports analysis as well as game highlights, follow Mike Flanagan on his personal Twitter and Instagram @flano0.