And now there are four. Or, actually, soon there should be four teams making the playoffs from Class 2A and 3A districts. That’s already the number for 4A and 5A, while the other two conferences currently permit just three teams to advance to the postseason.
The University Interscholastic League’s committee on athletics said okay to the increase, June 12. In October, the UIL’s legislative council must concur. The Austin American-Statesman says the change would then go into effect in 2013-14.
Class 3A superintendents voted 67-43 in favor of the extra team, while 2A bosses approved the new format 97-66. 1A superintendents said no.
“I did not vote for the measure,” related Llano ISD’s Dennis Hill. “I think it creates hardships in scheduling playoff contests and has the effect of allowing too many teams with poor performance the honor of advancement.”
Athletic director and head football coach, Craig Slaughter, disagrees. “I love it that it means something to make the playoffs,” Slaughter declares, “but this is something I want our kids to experience.”
“4A and 5A have it,” asserts Burnet’s new gridiron mentor, Ken Jones, “why not 2A and 3A?”
Liberty Hill’s Jerry Vance wondered in the Statesman if the playoff field will be watered down. No one tossed water on the Panthers’ two state rings in 2006-07 nor Lake Travis’s five straight football championship parades in Conference 4A.
Art Dlugach: This watered-down business will allow schools into the opening round of the playoffs, schools which may not deserve it under the current setup, but it’s highly unlikely the cries of “We’re Number Four!” will be heard in December or March or June. Although, smarty pants, the Los Angeles Kings were eighth (and last) seeds in the Western Conference until they iced down the Stanley Cup. Of course, you just never can tell about 30-year-old hockey players.
“Four would especially help in a district like ours,” contends Llano girls’ head basketball coach Daryl Friedrich. “We’ve had two teams from 25-AAA to make it to regionals the past two years.” In late February, Liberty Hill won the Region IV crown with a win over Burnet.
“I like it,” notes new head baseball coach, Mike Ridings. “It gives the kids something to work for.”
Dlugach, again: I’m usually the old man ranting against change, but goodness, doesn’t this move simply match the colleges and pros? There are bowl games for all teams that can count to 11; the NCAA basketball tournaments for men and women have 64 qualifiers plus extras of mercy. College baseball and softball are also known for their Final 64.
I wanted to stay home from school in the early 1950s to see—on on the (fairly) new black-and-white TV—the Yankees lose the World Series. It was between the AL and NL champions after 154 games. Second-place ball clubs in the two eight-team leagues could also watch on television. They were excused until spring training. The only wild cards then were known as jokers.
No, my mother did not let me stay home, and, so what? The Yankees won the World Series, 1949-1953.