YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO (WKBN) – With the OHSAA announcing their proposal to play a 6-game season with everyone making the playoffs, it paves the way for local schools to have a season, but it also creates some confusion.
With a 6-game season, the question arises as to which 6 games do a school play? They can either opt to keep the schedule just as it is for the first six weeks or do they adjust the schedule to play league games provided a school is in a conference.
“I’m happy for anything for our kids, they have worked hard,” Springfield head coach Sean Guerriero said. “I’m glad we got some leadership, but still to me, I think they have to make a decision on what games to play. I don’t think we should be doing rescheduling and that kind of thing. I think you need to do the first six or the last six games. I think they are making it a lot harder on schools.”
He added, “For us, our first three games have been pretty important to us. I don’t want to put those teams in jeopardy. They came out and made the decision, I just wish they showed a little bit more guidance. It seems the only thing they care about are the playoffs.”
“The number one concern for me all along is that we had a regular season,” Columbiana Clipper head coach Bob Spaite said. “I kind of thought the season might be shortened, but I never heard of this particular formula that they came up with. The football coaches association wasn’t consulted to my knowledge. They didn’t consult anyone that had anything to do with any football league. I don’t get the logic behind it, I’m sure there is some, but it escapes me.”
He continued, “The part I struggle the most with is we all preach to our kids about integrity, honor, and doing the right thing. And now, is your number one loyalty to your league, or is your number one loyalty to the contract and the word you have given to guys that you have built relationships with over the years? I’m unbelievably sympathetic to Sean Guerriero and Dan Yeagley and some of these other guys who have built their programs to where they are in the driver seat where they have trouble finding (non-conference) games, so when you give people an out to where they look at it as do they want to play these guys or somebody that’s not quite where those guys are right now. When they open pandora’s box like that, that all contracts are voidable, man, that puts you in a bad spot.”
The OHSAA decision to hold the playoffs helps the organization to capture some funds provided by TV contracts more so than attendance as there has been no determination if fans will be allowed into any contest. But for the individual schools, money for their athletic programs will suffer.
“For us to be able to function, and be able to do the stuff for our school, I think they are being a little selfish on that part. Where it’s like ‘We’ll make our money through the playoffs so whatever you guys do, we don’t care’,” Guerriero remarked.
“I’m not saying anything that they (OHSAA) hasn’t said publicly, the football tournament is hugely important to them. We are a cash cow,” Spaite remarked. “This last decision is one hundred percent about the tournament. It’s not about anything else. It’s about making sure that their money tree keeps coming. I have expressed my opinion, and I have been told I was wrong, that isn’t true, but that doesn’t change the reality that is the way I personally see it.”
The OHSAA will allow schools to opt-out of the playoffs, or play additional games if they are eliminated from the playoffs up to November 14th. The first round of the playoffs begins Friday, October 9th.
“I think as long as your team is healthy and you are able to play, I think teams will try to get their 10 games in if they can,” Gueriireo stated. “I think it is a good option because of the situation.”
“None of us will because our pride gets in the way, our desire to be in the playoffs, our desire to win a state championship, our desire to compete at the highest level, but you can opt-out of the playoffs. If every school in the state of Ohio would opt-out of the playoffs, and thump their nose at the OHSAA, I think that would be poetic justice,” Spaite said.
“I totally understand there will be some programs across the state that are going to look at it ‘We’ll see if anybody else in the area that is struggling like we are and see if they want to play’. From that aspect, you can put that up as a plus. It does allow them the opportunity to play 10 games,” He added.
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