Advertisement

American Press

Saturday, August 23, 2014
Southwest Louisiana ,
| Share |

Gazzolo Column: Competition loses when everyone wins

Last Modified: Thursday, May 02, 2013 11:59 AM

By Jim Gazzolo / American Press

Let me be the first to congratulate St. Louis on making the football playoffs.

Hard to say you earned it, but then again in today’s world you don’t seem to have to earn anything.

Unless I’m reading this wrong, or there are going to be a lot of bye weeks, under the new Louisiana High School Athletic Association playoff policy being finalized, almost all select (private) schools will qualify for the playoffs before summer workouts even begin. Or at least they could.

That’s what happens when you go with five divisions on the public — sorry, non-select — side and five on the select.

So next school year, instead of five champions, the state of Louisiana will give us 10.

Ten state champs. Wow.

With odds like that I wish I was back playing high school football. I could use a ring.

Congrats to Hamilton Christian, you just received a bid to the state tournament. Welcome to the party.

Things are a little tougher on the public side of the ledger. Barbe isn’t expected to earn a berth until Labor Day.

By the way, Louisiana will now have more than triple the number of state champions as California and the same as Texas when you throw out the six-man divisions.

Last time I looked on a map both California and Texas were a smidge larger than Louisiana.

This, of course, is a bit of an exaggeration. We are not sure when all the details are done just how many teams will make the select playoffs, but we do know more teams will be in the postseason than ever before.

In a world where winning is everything to parents and high school brass, this seems to make sense.

We give participation awards for T-ball, why not high school football as well?

That’s right, we already did that. They were called varsity letters and there was more than enough pride in those. Not now.

This does take away from those nifty soap signs on cars that read “playoffs or bust.”

One wonders how bad a team must be not to be considered for a playoff berth? Winless is about the only way where you won’t have much of a claim.

The NBA has its slogan, “Win or go home.”

LHSAA now has “A win and you’re in.”

I don’t want to point the finger at the governing body of high school sports either. Let’s make this clear: the public school officials wanted this and they voted to have it. It’s on them.

This because John Curtis, Evangel Christian and a few other select schools were too tough on the field.

Can’t beat’em, boot’em.

Of course, that’s not how those calling for the action are putting it.

They want to say it is about recruiting. I hope the LHSAA, which also said it would actively look in all directions for such violations, don’t keep a blind eye on select schools when it comes to this process.

If this is all about fairness, I know of a few public schools that could use a good looking over when it comes to their rosters. LHSAA, you got my number.

Now saying one win gets you in might be a bit of a stretch, but not by much.

We have had two-win teams make the playoffs last year, so this is more than likely to happen when you add to the playoff pool.

This makes the state championship a watered-down version of what it once was.

It was bad enough when the talk was for just two select divisions, but now this.

But hey, look on the good side. Last year Barbe and Archbishop Rummel, which beat the Bucs in the Class 5A football championship game, both would have been crowned state champs. Not sure Barbe can proclaim itself the defending state non-select champion or not this year.

Ah, what the heck, as long as we are giving titles away, go hang a banner Bucs, you kind of earned it.

The fact that there are more champions being crowned in this state than California is laughable.

There were hardly enough good teams to have five playoff rounds last year. In fact, when you look at the opening games there clearly were not.

I would love to say that this could be a master plan set in place by LHSAA members. Here is how we could make this work.

Let’s eliminate one round on each side. That would give the select and non-select playoffs four games each. Sixteen teams per bracket. The winner doesn’t come out of the bottom bracket anyway.

We crown champs in both divisions and then play them off in a true state championship game.

Ten teams would get state title rings, five teams would claim the ultimate crown.

Call this the Bayou Brawl.

Think of the interest as state champ Barbe battles state champ Rummel, or some other select power in a winner-take-all match.

Promote it as Private vs. Public, Select vs. Non-select, recruits against non-recruits — better wait on that last one until all 10 rosters are cleared.

It would be perfect.

And just think, the groundwork is already done.

The state is already divided.

Playing the games would be the easy part.

• • •

Jim Gazzolo is managing sports editor. Email him at jgazzolo@americanpress.com

Posted By: Bill Guillotte On: 5/7/2013

Title: hypocritical perspective

Dear Jim,
First let me say that I thoroughly enjoyed your article today. I am amazed at how much emphasis our society puts on an athlete's life outside of their sport instead of their ability within their sport. You did a very good job of contrasting two very different perspectives.
Secondly, I have to say that I take issue to your perspective on the select/non-select controversy going on in our state. I read your article a few days ago about the issue and I have to say I was very upset. I believe a very important part of high school sports is about a group of students coming together from the same community at a specific time to accomplish a life long memory. So I decided to take a few days and let the dust settle before I considered writing you. I had actually forgot about it until I noticed you had to make mention of it again in today's article.
In the past schools have been classified based on the "pool"/enrollment/community of athletes from which it has to draw. Hypothetically, the idea is that if a school has a large "pool" to draw athletes from then they are going to field a better team. Therefore, schools would compete with other schools who have comparable "pools" from which to draw athletes with the attempt to keep the competition on a level playing field . Public schools have zones that in the past they have had to strictly abide by, BUT then along came private schools who have very small enrollments but are able to draw from very LARGE "pools" within a whole city or even a whole parish if a particular athlete has available transportation. Private schools have NO zone by which they must abide by, so they are able to attract the best athletes (especially if a parent thinks their child will have a better chance at a college scholarship). 4 of this years 5 state champion football teams were PRIVATE SCHOOLS!!! Do you really think its just LUCK that a "John Curtis" is able to field the kind of football team they field year after year? Do you really think their coaching is THAT superior? OR is it that they draw the best athletes from a VERY LARGE "pool"?
According to your perspective in the article, WE SHOULD DO AWAY WITH ALL CLASSIFICATIONS!!! Why should a Hackberry High school be crowned state champs in softball when they haven't beaten Sam Houston High? Why should a Ouachita Christian be crowned state champs in football when they haven't beaten an Arch Bishop Rummel? According to your perspective there should only be 1 state champ in every sport!!
I did a little a little research and found that you are an AWARD WINNING WRITER!!! Best Sports Story!! Best Sports Column!! But WAIT!!! WHAT IS THIS????? You are in "DIVISION" 2!!!! OMG!!! Can it be that you don't compete with the "BIG" papers in the state??? You must be proud that you can blow away those DIVISION 6 papers like Bunkie/Zachary/Donaldsville!! Your perspective is like the proverbial "pot" calling the "kettle" black. Can you really say you are the "Best" in the state, or are you the "Best" in the state at your level of competition?
It is all about being the BEST at a teams level of competition!!! Maybe the answer would be to classify schools based on the number of students in the "pool" from which they draw athletes. If a private school draws an athlete from 45 miles away, then every athlete in that 45 mile zone should be considered part of their VERY LARGE pool. But then you would probably have very close to our select/non-select arrangement because all your private schools would have the largest "pools" and therefore be in the top division.
If you are going to continue to spew your perspective then I would hope that you would be true to your concept that there should be NO classifications and ALL high schools should play each other for ONE TRUE state champion!!!
By the way, congratulations on your awards!!!

According to your perspective in the article, WE SHOULD DO AWAY WITH ALL CLASSIFICATIONS!!! Why should a Hackberry High school be crowned state champs in softball when they haven't beaten Sam Houston High? Why should a Ouachita Christian be crowned state champs in football when they haven't beaten an Arch Bishop Rummel? According to your perspective there should only be 1 state champ in every sport!!
I did a little a little research and found that you are an AWARD WINNING WRITER!!! Best Sports Story!! Best Sports Column!! But WAIT!!! WHAT IS THIS????? You are in "DIVISION" 2!!!! OMG!!! Can it be that you don't compete with the "BIG" papers in the state??? You must be proud that you can blow away those DIVISION 6 papers like Bunkie/Zachary/Donaldsville!! Your perspective is like the proverbial "pot" calling the "kettle" black. Can you really say you are the "Best" in the state, or are you the "Best" in the state at your level of competition?
It is all about being the BEST at a teams level of competition!!! Maybe the answer would be to classify schools based on the number of students in the "pool" from which they draw athletes. If a private school draws an athlete from 45 miles away, then every athlete in that 45 mile zone should be considered part of their VERY LARGE pool. But then you would probably have very close to our select/non-select arrangement because all your private schools would have the largest "pools" and therefore be in the top division.
If you are going to continue to spew your perspective then I would hope that you would be true to your concept that there should be NO classifications and ALL high schools should play each other for ONE TRUE state champion!!!
By the way, congratulations on your awards!!!" />

Posted By: gerald j On: 5/2/2013

Title: school

just wondering where you went to high school? i do like your ideas at the end of the article, but the beginning is completely pro-private. and by the way, Texas has 5 divisions, just more schools, and seperates public from private as well. How do you expect public 2A schools that draw from an area of roughly 3000 combined citizens--say Welsh, Kinder, Vinton, etc--to compete with John Curtis who can recruit, and does, any athlete in the United States. 30+ state titles proves that's not fair.

Posted By: William On: 5/2/2013

Title: Apparently Size Does Matter

Seems high school sports is not the only thing divided in Louisiana.
Even sports writers and columnist who cover high school games seem to be divided.
Congrats Jim for coming in first place for Division 2 Best Sports Columnist in Louisiana in 2012.
Or is that 4th place after the top 3 finishers for Division 1 newspapers?
Shouldn't all writers be equal when penning a column, I mean it is the same language we all read and you all use the same 26 letters of the alphabet to compose your stories.
College English is College English, whether it is taught at Sowela or Harvard. So there is no need to have separate divisions of Louisiana newspapers if everyone can write equally. City populations and the size of a newspaper’s circulation should have nothing to do with awards and categorizations.
In closing, apparently Size does matter in life... On and off the fields.

Posted By: William On: 5/2/2013

Title: Seems not everything in life is equal Sports or Newspapers...

Seems high school sports is not the only thing divided in Louisiana. Even sports writers and columnist who cover high school games seem to be divided.
Congrats Jim for coming in first place for Division 2 Best Sports Columnist in Louisiana in 2012.
Or is that 4th place after the top 3 finishers for Division 1 newspapers?
Shouldn't all writers be equal when penning a column, I mean it is the same language we all read and you all use the same 26 letters of the alphabet to compose your stories.
College English is College Englsih, whether it is taught at Sowela or Harvard. So there is no need to have seperate divisions of Louisiana newspapers if everyone can write equally. City populations and the size of a newspapers circulation should have nothing to do with awards and catagorizations.
In closing, apparently Size does matter in life... On and off the fileds.

Comment on this article

captcha d34f529ef75f4a249c52a71228a8c93b




Get Social With Us!

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Mobile
  • Feed
Advertisement

Copyright © 2014 American Press

Privacy Policies: American Press