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Bill to be Presented That Would Prevent SAT Conflict Similar to What Chelmsford Baseball Faced

South Hadley Representative John Scibak will present a bill related to MIAA scheduling before the Joint Committee on Education.

In June, Chelmsford players hung the jerseys of the players who elected to take the SATs. (Patch File Photo)
In June, Chelmsford players hung the jerseys of the players who elected to take the SATs. (Patch File Photo)
The Chelmsford High School baseball team was involved in controversy last month when players were forced to choose between the SATs and a semifinal playoff game. A bill will be presented on Thursday that, if passed, would prevent a similar situation from happening in the future.

Representative John Scibak, a democrat from South Hadley, announced that H. 4200, dealing with the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletics Association's scheduling of games will be heard on Thursday.

The hearing will take place before the Joint Committee on Education at 10 a.m. inside State House hearing room A-2, with Scibak expected to testify on the subject.

Scibak took an interest in the topic after about 10 Hadley and Turners Falls players were forced to miss the Western Massachusetts Division 4 baseball final because the MIAA would not change the game time despite the large number of students slated to take the SATs that morning.

Several days earlier, a similar situation played out between Methuen and Chelmsford's baseball teams in advance of the North Division 1 semifinal.

The Lions won the game, though several players from each side missed the contest while taking the SATs. Both teams had threatened to boycott the game, but opted to play without key players.

Scibak wrote in a June letter to the editor published in the Daily Hampshire Gazette that games should not be allowed to be played earlier than 2 p.m. on days that college entrance exams are scheduled for.

"I recognize the multiple demands placed upon student athletes and I believe each of them should have the opportunity to excel not just on the playing field but also academically," Scibak wrote. "These students should be able to take the SAT with their peers and not be denied that opportunity because of a lack of flexibility in the scheduling of playoff games."

After his team was eliminated in the North Division 1 championship game, Chelmsford baseball coach Mike O'Keefe told Chelmsford Patch he hoped changes could occur so a similar situation does not arise in the future. If the proposed bill makes its way through the State House, O'Keefe may get his wish.

"I would hope so. If that is what comes out of this, than that would be great for all of the teams in all sports," O'Keefe told Patch in June. "We don't want to have kids have to make that choice. It was unfortunate that it happened. The MIAA is in a tough position with all the games it has to schedule. But I think flexibility when it comes to a major academic event like that needs to be considered."

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