EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

June 11, 2014

Proposed bill would avoid playoffs vs. SATs

A bill filed in the state Legislature Monday would prohibit the state high school athletic commission from holding sports events before 2 p.m. on days when college entrance exams are scheduled, a response to a conflict at least four teams faced last Saturday when players had to choose between their playoff baseball games and taking the SAT.

Shortly after Rep. John Scibak, D-South Hadley, filed the bill Monday, he netted 30 supporters, including a number of local legislators.

Scibak said student athletes should not have to choose between academics and playoff sports.

“It doesn’t seem fair to expect a kid who could be at the high point of their athletic career to sacrifice their academics,” he said.

Paul Wetzel, a spokesman for MIAA, said the organization’s leaders have not had time to review and discuss the bill and could not comment.

Chelmsford and Methuen played a Division I North semifinal game in Lowell Saturday, the same day the SAT is scheduled. Methuen was down two starters and a bench player because the students chose to take the exam, said varsity baseball coach Eric Cyr.

Coaches and athletic directors from both communities asked the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association to play a different day after the original Thursday game was rained out and the makeup was scheduled for Saturday.

MIAA did not budge.

“To me, it seems a no-brainer,” Cyr said. “If you are the MIAA, and the I stands for interscholastic, it seems you’d do anything in your power that any conflict between athletics and academics doesn’t happen. They certainly dropped the ball on that.”

Cyr said he recommended that his three players take the test because they were juniors. The SAT will not be given again until October, according to College Board, the organization that administers the test.

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