MPA Suspends Playoffs For Unified Basketball Program

Jan 3, 2020

The Maine Principals' Association (MPA) has decided to suspend championship playoffs in its sanctioned Unified basketball program that combines non-varsity players and students with developmental disabilities. There are concerns there is too much emphasis on competition during the playoffs, which takes away from the "feel-good" nature of the regular season.

Sacopee Valley (white jerseys) faces Fryeburg Academy in unified basketball in 2016.
Credit Patty Wight / Maine Public File

"It really changed how people left the game feeling, a lot of hard feelings and accusations that the other team wasn't playing by the same set of rules and so on,” says MPA Assistant Executive Director Michael Bisson.

Bisson says fewer teams have participated in the playoffs in recent years. Instead several teams have participated in end-of-season festivals that celebrate basketball and having fun. So, this year, rather than holding playoffs, the MPA has set aside a week in March for that purpose. Bisson says the MPA will decide after two years whether there's enough interest to resume the playoffs. He says the MPA wants to make a decision that will allow kids to be successful and feel good about what they're doing.