The landscape of football was changed forever a few years ago with what was deemed the “Waterfall” conferences and purportedly the vision of coaches to solve disparity. However, the fallout created a mudslide as booster clubs, parents, athletes and school administrators had to raise more monies to fund long distance travels for up to three levels of play to suffer lopsided scores and games played on Thursdays, a school night, because fields were a premium as the local teams were not competing against one another. If year one was not bad enough the fact remained there was going to be a year two where the same teams had to endure the misery of basketball scores and running clocks in the second quarter of most contests. The reality of all of this was the same 7 or 8 teams that dominated in years past were conference winners in the less than competitive conferences. All along this could have been solved had 6A been reinstated like 1990-1993. The infamous RPI may not have cost a few teams anguish and non participation but more importantly it may not have contributed to this years Football Proposal Fallout!
The Fall sport of football has a new Football Proposal that will be voted on January 25, 2018 that is less than appealing for the teams placed in the conference of 10, which we will call X not to be confused with excommunicated. In years past 42 was the favorable number of teams in each classification but in the new proposal 5A will be 40 as two teams elected to move down to 4A making room for the proposed 5 conferences of 6 teams and one conference of 10. The “X” conference has also been deemed the developmental division because those teams have not won many games or conceivably been able to field 3 levels of competition. However, in our previous article 5A TO BE RUBBER STAMPED ON JANUARY 25, 2018 ? we detailed the teams wins and losses and tallied up the conferences and found flaws. The objective was clear geography and close proximity for natural rivals and less travel was considered in the committee findings. However, once introduced and made public we learned not all coaches communicated with their athletic directors to discuss changes and a few were told deal with it or move on. At least one head coaching job of the many posted was because of the “X” factor and inability to compete or help kids gain exposure to teams with talents being recruited by colleges. So the “X” school teams may be deprived as the censure known as CHSSA has suspended and/or limited their ability to play better competition or only allow 1 team, the conference title winner an opportunity to play in the now proposed expanded 24 team playoff format. Again a flaw to reward non top 16 teams a participation trophy called round one of the playoffs where games are most likely meaningless except for CHSSA that keeps the gate or revenue monies rather than the home team school. Yes it is a feel good award like years past when 32 teams qualified out of 42. In addition the top 8 get a bye week which has been argued to heal up wounded soldiers but really? It just gives the top 8 teams more time to review film and game plan and the underdog teams will be at a disadvantage once again. So for 30 of the 40 teams many are saying hurry up and pass this proposal as the more they think about it we might be considered and asked to be in the pit of misery of “X”. Yes the conference of 10 has opened many eyes as parents are openly talking about suing CHSSA over the new football proposal and for not allowing teams to actively develop their attendance area because of the open enrollments and fluid transfer rules.
I choose this school for the coaching staff and its ability to motivate my son. We could have been like many families and taken the easy route to be on a winning team as those schools continue to bend the rules in their favor. However, they do not care for the kids post high school and an education is important to our family. We would be another number and be given false hopes from a figure headed coach that really does not coach and is not a teacher in the building. Also the lure of private schools is not worth the monies we have to pay over 4 years when we can save that for college tuition should sports not provide us an opportunity. Now kids are being recruited by other parents or kids at gyms, during school breaks or off season activities not centered around the school.
While the debate will continue outside the boardroom or football committee members meetings it is evident sports drives many parents motivations and choices. In fairness to the “X” schools these parents should be allowed to transfer their kids without penalty. Currently the rules states an athlete has to sit 50% of the regular season before being allowed to play Varsity games. We must all remember high school is four years and the Football cycle is 2 years so any current family has based their education on either truly residing in the area or the past model and plan in place for sports. Let us all hope and maybe pray they do the right thing!
About the only positive is the season will be moved forward one week to coincide with golf that was the only fall sport that had the earliest starting date. For 2018 the first day of non contact will be August 6th. While it is a step forward one would have hoped for August 1 to have 3 days of non contact and then the weekend to recover and or relax before day 4 and contact. If safety is a priority and motivating factor for the CHSAA Legislative Council more days gives participants more time to acclimate to coaches, teammates, practices and before school starts that might be a distraction as many schools start at different calendar days. It might also benefit parents to have their kids up and early to be ready for school as many high school coaches start practices at 6:15am to avoid the heat and to accommodate coaches that have real jobs. Having a truncated start will be interesting as opening game weekend is proposed for August 23-25, 2018. Only 18 days later if a team draws a Thursday night affair or 15 days after the pads go on. Obviously more time on the field benefits everyone and addresses safety so perhaps we can suggest August 1st again as it is more attractive and makes more sense especially in a contact sport under scrutiny with CTE and concussions.
So the fall sport of football is again under further review and one can only hope the current proposal eliminates some of the current fallout issues and can be messaged to benefit all parties and not just a few. The 2 year cycle impacts all the teams but could be most damaging to the group of 10 schools identified and singled out. Almost reminiscent of busing back in the day when someone thought having young kids ride on the bus for up to an hour would create a better environment. It was good in theory but for various reasons scrapped for good reasons.
The reality is sports has become a big business and not about enjoying simple leisure activities in our spare time. They say money is the root of all evils and well nowadays paying trainers, attending camps and traveling for sports has opened a pandoras box to keep up with the Jones’ What is often forgotten and we preach all the time is academia first! Training the brain and obtaining knowledge is probably easier to score high grades in the classroom as well as college board exams all used for admissions to colleges and universities. However, if you are focused on sports only, a proper coaching staff would keep its athletes in house and train before school in what some schools call “Zero Hour” to make incoming 8th graders and current students bigger, faster and stronger.
Note studies have shown exercise as the first activity of the day stimulates the brain which if you have ever been a first period teacher or student you know how difficult being attentive is for many while trying to absorb new information.
So I would highly suggest to parents that do not have coaches willing to open the weight room door at 6am to schedule a first period PE class. If unavailable use the outdoor track and run a couple miles before school and guess what, both options are FREE and with that cash savings invest in a nutritionist. Proper diet and exercise will be a lifetime habit as many probably hear this statement when getting an annual physical from their doctor.