The Sonny Fulks column advocating reduction of the football playoff process is counter to the goal of exposing as many deserving student athletes as possible to the ultimate competitive process.
Just because Sonny Fulks writes it…it doesn’t make it gospel.
Sonny has his opinion on many topics and uses Press Pros to air his ideas, thoughts, and philosophy on a wide variety of issues.
His latest idea centered on the football playoffs, and how he thought that having eight teams qualify in each division and in each region was too many. I disagree!
In 1972, the OHSAA started football playoffs. It has turned out to be one of their best moves ever. There were only three divisions (A, AA, AAA), with only one school qualifying out of each region. In 1972 there were a total of 12 football schools in the playoffs. What a shame!
1973 produced a Covington football team that could have beat most teams around, regardless of size, but was denied a playoff berth because of a quirk in the system and the policy of only taking one team.
The OHSAA improved the playoff system in 1980 when they started to take two teams in each division and region, and at the same time, increased to five divisions (I, II, III, IV,V). This move allowed 40 teams to participate.
Eight teams with six divisions became a reality in 1994 (17 years ago), and served everyone well in many ways. There are now 192 teams in the OHSAA football playoffs.
Money is a driving a force in just about everything, and the OHSAA football playoffs certainly is not exempt. Last year (2010), the football playoffs generated a profit of $1,562,009.39 and in 2009 a profit of $2,052,435.54.
These kind of dollars pay for many needed and costly items—catastrophic insurance premiums for all athletes, educational and leadership programs for athletes and officials, and in paying for increasing costs in non-revenue sports, etc.
The largest profit comes from the quarterfinal games (first round games). If this would be cut in half by Sonny’s suggestion, the OHSAA would suffer to the tune of about $300,000.00.
More importantly, 96 teams, 5,760 youngsters and 96 school communities would be denied the chance to celebrate, compete, and be part of what is now an Ohio tradition.
It is exciting for everybody no matter where you are seeded, and it would be a shame for Sonny to play Mr. Grinch and steal the football playoffs out from under the noses of almost 6,000 kids.
In the playoffs, last year alone, there were six teams seeded #1 defeated by teams seeded #8. There were six teams seeded #2 defeated by teams seeded #7. Also, there were six teams seeded #3 defeated by teams seeded #6, and 12 teams seeded #4 defeated by teams seeded #5.
Those 30 teams would never have the opportunity to participate, compete, or experience the “thrill of victory” in a playoff football game under Sonny’s suggestion.
Sonny has other ideas I just might write about in the future. Sometimes I struggle for material, but I realize it is right under my nose.