A bizarre disagreement over one of the core rules that governs football led to the cancelation of a high school football game, and could foreshadow other disputes in the future.
As reported by the Boston Globe, the scheduled Friday football game between South Shore Vocational Technical (Hanover, Mass.) High School and West Bridgewater (Mass.) High School never got underway because of a dispute about the length of their quarters. While the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association moved into compliance with the National Federation of High School’s standard rules, but some conferences — including the Mayflower Conference — have thus far refused to move to 12 minute quarters from their previous 10.
Here’s more from the Globe:
Hanover-based South Shore wanted to play 10-minute quarters in keeping with a decision by the Mayflower Conference to bypass the rules of the National Federation of State High School Associations adopted by the MIAA this season. West Bridgewater, also a Mayflower Conference member, wanted to play 12-minute quarters as required by the NFHS so it wouldn’t jeopardize its ability to qualify for the postseason.
The Mayflower Conference voted twice in meetings over the summer to shorten the length of quarters for its league games to 10 minutes, as it has done for the past 30 years, and requested a waiver from the MIAA. The conference, which has 12 football teams, based its actions over concerns for player safety, but the request was denied.
The general thrust of the disagreement — one school fighting to use regulation quarters to protect their postseason eligibility while the other feels it must use shortened periods to protect its players — makes it clear that any resolution is going to be very difficult to find. Some resolution could come Thursday, when the MIAA Football Committee rules on an appeal being brought by South Shore officials.
For now, confusion reigns, with no immediate sense of whether full national rules or shortened quarters are likely to win out.
“The MIAA hasn’t said what the punishment would be, they’re creating this,’’ Mayflower Conference President Jason Pacheco told 247Sports. “It’s unfortunate the MIAA pits our own schools against each other. I’m unhappy and upset, but I don’t fault either school. I fault the state for putting us in such a gray area.”