No standings will be kept in A Conference this fall
by Gary Adornato
The summer of controversy over the refusal of MIAA A Conference football schools to play league rival St. Frances may be over, with the issuance on Friday of a memo by the league office, or it may just be heating up, depending on your perspective.
The status of the 2018 season has been under a cloud since May when Mount St. Joseph and Calvert Hall, expressing safety concerns, declared they would not play St. Frances in 2018. In the weeks that followed, amidst charges of racism and a very public debate, the remaining schools in the conference – Archbishop Spalding, Gilman and McDonogh – also announced their intentions not to play St. Frances this fall.
Subsequently, St. Frances decided to pursue a schedule of national opponents, but refused to officially pull out of the conference, demanding to be declared champions by default. On Friday, that demand was granted with the leagues’ formal declaration.
In the MIAA memo, signed by MIAA Executive Director Lee Dove, the league stated, “In light of the timing of the notifications given to St. Frances and the sequence of events, St. Frances will be declared conference champions due to the decisions by all ‘A’ Conference opponents not to play scheduled contests.”
The league further declared that there would be no playoffs or championship game in the league in 2018 and that no official standings will be kept for those teams competing in the A Conference in 2018.
When the original forfeits were announced, the MIAA initially told teams that they could not schedule other opponents on the dates in which they were originally scheduled to face St. Frances. That has changed according to the memo.
“With the ability of st. Frances to put together an independent schedule, the other schools in the ’A’ Conference will be permitted to fill that game slot with other opponents.”
The memo also stated that the MIAA will continue to discuss and review its rules “specific to recruitment, transfers, and eligibility.” Further, the league’s JV schedule will take place as originally setup, including St. Frances.
“This has been a difficult and delicate situation for the MIAA and its member schools to endure,” wrote Dove. “With no previous history of such actions, the leadership has at all times tried to make decisions that are justified, appropriate under the circumstances, and transparent, and will continue to do so.”
The memo, which was sent to each school playing football in the MIAA A Conference, including St. Frances. Several league coaches have privately expressed displeasure with the ruling and the decision not to allow the remaining teams to compete for the title, absent St. Frances.
Further, critics point out that the ruling does nothing to prevent a similar situation from occurring for the 2019 season. Dove, however, told Varsity Sports Network, that St. Frances has already stated its intention to play a national schedule in 2019.
The controversy gained national attention on Sunday when the situation was the subject of a profile by ESPN’s E:60.
Click the link below to read the MIAA’s entire memo.