Jim Snyder, former sports editor of The Parkersburg News, once told me that the primary purpose of column writing was to evoke as much discussion as you possibly can among the public.
Well, after seeing, and hearing, the discussions that occurred following my column dealing with the absurdities of the present format utilized by the Secondary School Activities Commission to advance teams to its girls and boys state basketball tournament, I'd have to believe that Mr. Snyder would have agreed that I accomplished what I had set out to do.
Even coaches that attended this past Sunday's pre-state tournament meeting at the SSAC office approached me to give me their views concerning the present method that allows a team that loses in its sectional championship game to still advance to the regional round of games and earn one of the coveted eight berths in the state tournament.
Feelings were mixed, to say the least. But there were enough comments made to make me believe that not all of the coaches are happy with the present setup and would like the opportunity to revisit the process by which it was approved.
Two arguments for the system in use that really raised my ire centered around the SSAC's concern about having teams travel long distances on school nights should a seeding process be put in place that would rank the teams 1-32 and the other revolved around the costs that would be incurred by such a set up.
Now, let me see if I get this right.
Administrators are concerned about sending teams across the state on a school night to play a tournament game, but it was OK for the girls from Parkersburg South to have to travel to Greenbrier East-a trip that took more than three hours-on a school night as well as sending Point Pleasant's girls to Oak Glen in one of the 24 mini-regionals that make up the present format.
Another case in point was Tuesday night's clash at Memorial Fieldhouse between the host Big Reds from Parkersburg and the visiting Spartans from Greenbrier East. Correct me if I am wrong, but doesn't Greenbrier East have school today?
Even if the Spartans left Parkersburg by 9 p.m. it would still be midnight or later before they returned home-on a school night.
Seeding the schools would allow you to play the first round of the tournaments on one weekend with the higher seeded team selecting the site with the visiting team picking the day and time. Games would be played at the same times as during the football season-7:30 p.m. on Friday, 1:30 p.m. on Saturday or 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.
No school time would be lost except for those teams that had long distances to travel.
Then, there is the question of cost.
There is not enough space left in this column to devote to explaining the follies surrounding this excuse.
But, if you have a system that works very well during the football season, wouldn't the same system work for basketball?
Contact Jim Butta at firstname.lastname@example.org