RHS vote on Class 3A proposal may be a moot point

The University interscholastic League took another step in their efforts to make sure everybody makes the playoffs on Monday as the UIL legislative council proposed to split up Class 3A into two divisions, joining the remaining classifications, which are already divided.

It will also add a fourth playoff team beginning next season.

While RISD superintendent Dr. Howell Wright and RISD Athletic Director Jeff Miller basically support the amendment for equality’s sake, it may be a moot point for the Rockdale school district.

Because of waning enrollment, the Tigers may be included in Class 2A in UIL’s next bi-annual reclassifiction in 2014.

“I will vote to support the scenario for the 2013 team sport season (it also adds a fourth playoff team to all team sports),” Dr. Wright said. “Football will have two schools from each district represented in both divisions (one and two). The way our district is aligned four out of the five teams that participate in football would make the playoffs.

“I am voting to support the provision because it allows our students to follow the same or similar guidelines as the other UIL conferences.

“I am torn,” Miller said. “In regards to the playoffs being expanded to the top four teams in each district, I have mixed emotions.

“First of all I think that four teams from a district of five, six or seven teams is too many. On the other hand, the UIL had to do something to level the playing field for the small schools in 3A.”

Currently, 4A and 5A take the top four from each district. The two largest enrollment schools go Division I and the two smallest schools go Division II.

This generally keeps a “small” 4A or 5A from playing someone twice their size in the play-offs.

Currently A and 2A are divided prior to the season starting which ensures that teams are playing other teams similar in size.

Class 3A takes the top three teams with the largest going big school and the next two going small school.

“Rockdale is in absolutely the worst position that any school in the state can be in,” said Miller. “3A districts range from 450 to 1,005 students and are not divided prior to district competition.

“Also, since the team with the highest enrollment goes division I and then the next largest school goes division II, a team like Rockdale (which turned in 474 students but is more in the range of 440 now) could easily play a school with over 900 students in the playoffs. There is no way that is fair in any team sport.”

For example: six of the 32 districts in class 3A consist of three teams with an enrollment of over 900 students. Meaning second and third place teams both could be in the small school bracket with Rockdale.

“Going to four teams making the play-offs really only benefits football in regards to leveling the playing field because the other sports will still be thrown into the same play-off tournament regardless of size,” Miller said. “The only way to make it completely fair is to split the districts by size prior to district competition.”

On a personal note...

Thanks to all the e-mails, phone calls, phone messages and texts I received during my recent hospital stay–or as I like to call it—my prison sentence.

It’s always overwhelming when you discover that people actually care about your wellbeing.

And for my closest friends who came to visit me and took my picture while I was asleep and drooling and in a hospital gown, well, you know what they say about paybacks...

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