A day after the proposed merger between the Baltimore-based Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Interstate Athletic Conference was called off, there was movement on both sides yesterday to restart the talks, according to MIAA Executive Director Rick Diggs and two IAC athletic directors.

"I thought it was dead, but this morning people started talking about trying to salvage it," Diggs said. The MIAA is "having a meeting on Monday, so if something is going to happen, we have to know before we walk into that meeting."

The conferences have been in discussions for more than a year, but the sides have been unable to reach an agreement. The original plan called for the six IAC schools -- Georgetown Prep, Landon, St. Albans, Episcopal, St. Stephen's/St. Agnes and Bullis -- to join the MIAA's A and B conferences for football starting next fall.

If the merger talks do not move forward by next week, the IAC is prepared to put together its football schedule for next season without Georgetown Prep, said Tom Farquhar, Bullis's head of school and IAC president. The IAC headmasters last spring voted Georgetown Prep out of the IAC -- for football only -- for the next two years, Farquhar said, in an effort to restore competitive balance. Prep, which is 3-6 overall and 3-1 in the league this fall, had won the previous four football championships.

Diggs also said that if the merger talks stall again, another option would be to admit Prep to the MIAA A conference for football.

The IAC athletic directors and headmasters are scheduled to meet next Tuesday. Farquhar said he'll have a better idea afterward as to the conference's direction.

"It's premature to say right now what is going to happen," Farquhar said.

Beckman Retires

Severn football coach John Beckman decided to retire this week after 10 seasons as head coach to spend more time with his family, he said. Beckman went 54-43 at Severn, including a 6-4 record this season.

Beckman said he started considering retirement in the middle of the season, but kept his thoughts private until after Severn's season-ending, 48-14 win over Anne Arundel County rival St. Mary's-Annapolis.

Beckman's retirement was first reported in yesterday's Annapolis Capital.

All-Met Information

Nomination information for The Post's fall All-Met teams have been sent to school athletic directors. Coaches or athletic directors who have not received the information should contact The Post at hss@washpost.com or call 202-334-7350. Nominations are due Nov. 19.

-- Tarik El-Bashir

and Eli Saslow