For the first time since the start of the pandemic, Maine high school sports will have no COVID-19 guidelines for the fall season.

With the change, that means postseason tournaments will no longer be open to all teams, which had been the case since schools returned to competition following the cancelation of the 2020 spring season and the '20-'21 fall + winter exhibition seasons.

The move to an 'open tournament' format was simple. Even through last year's high school basketball season, there was always the potential for games to be canceled due to teams being unable to play as a result of positive cases. With that, there wasn't the guarantee that every team would play an equal number of regular season games. So, the easiest solution was to make all teams eligible for the postseason, regardless of where they finished in the standings.

While utilizing the open tournament format, the end result was the same as it usually is. A quick check of the recent postseason brackets shows in the end, no teams made magical runs deep into the playoffs that, had it not been for the open tournaments, would otherwise have been excluded from postseason play.

Would you have liked the open tournaments to stay beyond the pandemic-impacted seasons, or do you like that it's going back to the traditional format of 'earning your spot' in the playoffs?

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