SSAC can’t do it alone

Ever had a conundrum?

That’s what I have faced every weekend during the playing of this year’s state high school football playoffs.

Heading out to the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission for the weekly playoff meetings, I prepare myself for two things-a warm welcome from Executive Director Gary Ray and his staff and the absence of Bluefield High School head coach Fred Simon.

Ray and his assistants Butch Powell, Kelly Geddis and Ray Londeree do a great job of organizing meetings, that allow them and members of the state media to meet with the coaches and administrators of the participating schools.

However, the meetings are not mandatory.

“I wouldn’t even call it a policy,” Ray said. “We (the WVSSAC) want our coaches and administrators at these meetings. We strongly encourage our coaches and at least one administrator from each school to attend.

“We feel like there is a lot of information that we need to get out to the schools and we want our coaches here so that they can meet with the media covering this event.”

Part of that exchange of information results in the individual team pages that are found in every game program sold by the W.Va. Athletic Directors Association. But, try as much as the organization does, the cooperation it is receiving from its member institutions leaves a lot to be desired.

Friday night’s contest between No. 12 Ritchie County and No. 13 Robert C. Byrd brought forth another common problem when it comes to covering one of the championships sponsored by the organization.

After scoring the first touchdown of the game, the Eagles of head coach Bruce Carey lined up to kickoff. However, when the announcer prepared to tell the crowd who was kicking for the visitors there was an awkward pause.

The reason? The player preparing to kickoff wore the number 55, but there was no player listed on the roster provided in the playoff guides sold to the public and provided to the media, with that number.

Speaking with other media members, including radio, that covered other contests over the past two weekends, I discovered they had dealt with similar problems.

Imagine you are the parent of No. 55. While you might know that is your child, it probably would have been nice to hear his name broadcast. And, that was only one of several errors.

The problem is the WVSSAC can only transmit to the public and media, what it is given by its member schools. So, if the school fails to take pride in the information it provides, how can it expect anything different from its ruling organization?

And, what about the fans attending the games who shell out the money for the program. They deserve better.

The purpose of this column is not to bash the WVSSAC. But, it’s time to have policies that are more than just words.

Otherwise, what purpose do they serve?

Contact Jim Butta at jbutta@newsandsentinel.com