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Chelmsford Baseball Controversy Prompts Bill Proposal to Prevent SAT Conflict

If the bill filed in the legislature on Monday is eventually passed, it would prevent students from having to choose playoff games over the SAT test.

Four Chelmsford players missed Saturday's semifinal for the SAT. (Patch File Photo)
Four Chelmsford players missed Saturday's semifinal for the SAT. (Patch File Photo)
Chelmsford High School baseball coach Mike O'Keefe told Patch that if the controversy his team had to go through being forced to pick SATs or a key playoff game led to changes in the offseason to prevent a similar situation from happening in the future, it would be a great thing for all athletes.

If a proposed bill is passed, O'Keefe may get his wish.

The Eagle-Tribune reported on Wednesday that Representative John Scibak out of South Hadley filed a bill Monday with 30 supporters that would prohibit the MIAA from holding sporting events before 2 p.m. on days when college entrance exams are scheduled.

On Saturday, Chelmsford and Methuen players were forced to choose between their SATS and the North Division 1 semifinal game after the MIAA rescheduled the contest for Saturday at 10 a.m., the same time as the test, and would not move the time despite protests from both teams.

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

Chelmsford was victorious despite missing four players, which Methuen lost the game without three players who took the test instead of playing.

"If (a change to the rules) is what comes out of this, than that would be great for all of the teams in all sports," O'Keefe told Patch on Sunday. "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."
Rob C June 12, 2014 at 09:33 PM
Another waste of time on Beacon Hill. It should be a decision that the kid or his/her parents make. If they choose to put a game over their future then that is their choice to make. I don't understand the outcry over this anyway since it was probably just jr's taking a practice test. We are supposed to be getting these kids ready to go out in the real world. In the real world the government is not there to make the decisions and things easier for you, you have to make those things happen on your own. Man up, decide what is more important to you, taking a test to help better your future or to go out and play a game. To me the choice would be easy. Apparently making a decision is a little too hard for some of these kids or parents.
Marcia Reinhagen Sullivan June 13, 2014 at 07:40 AM
Rob, this is not a practice test. If the high school junior taking the test decides to apply to college early decision, this is his last chance to take the SAT before the college apps go out.
ron johnson June 13, 2014 at 09:02 AM
Rob I agree with you most of the time, but in this case you have it wrong. I do not think that there needs to be a bill, but the SAT in the spring of junior year is not practice. As Marcia said above it may be the one that counts for early action and early decision applications. As far as the game, these kids play throughout HS and this is the play-offs. For most they will not play past HS, it is important to them at this time. The game as originally scheduled was not in conflict. The fact is the MIAA could have accommodated both schools which were willing to move the game, and they chose not to do so for the gate. The money does not go back to the schools and only goes to them. This is not about the government making it easier, it was about the MIAA, which is a private organization forcing a choice on the kids when it did not have to do so. BTW, I have no kids in HS and have no bias here. It comes down to this, take a test that is needed for your college application, and let your team down or play a game that up to this point is one of the more important games you have played. The choice would be a tough one for anyone and as I said above was not necessary except for the MIAA.
Rob C June 13, 2014 at 10:10 AM
MIAA should have changed if both teams wanted to, however in the end it is just a game and the students needed to make a tough decision. Problem in this country is that people are far more interested in sports instead of things that matter like education.
ron johnson June 13, 2014 at 01:12 PM
Rob, When you have played as long as most of these kids have the game is important as well. In each case, I think the kids made the choice to take the test. My point is that the need to make the choice could have easily been avoided and there was no good reason behind the MIAA position.

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