Blanchard River Buzz

A blog for rabid sports fans in the Findlay Area. Maintained by Findlay Courier sports writer Jamie Baker. The opinions expressed are my own crazed ramblings and not those of my employer the Findlay Publishing Company and its subsidiaries.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Standing up for the little guy

The writers at the big city newspapers have written favorable stories about the divisional changes the OHSAA is making. I guess, we at The Courier, are a lone voice in the wilderness (or the farm fields and woodlots of NW Ohio).

I can't get the word out enough so my blog today is simply my Tuesday column on the subject...

Mark Heiman's last column a few weeks back, on the changes the OHSAA has made on the way teams will be placed in divisions, was subtle.

As you might expect, mine won't be.

I don't think The Courier sports staff is going to get a Christmas card from the OHSAA this year. And that spot we've been trying to get on the OHSAA's Media Advisory Committee? Oh, that might be out the window, too.

Sure, we've been a thorn in the OHSAA's side and a collective pain in the butt trying to stir up a little trouble over the way they will be setting divisions in 2007-08. But when you are from Findlay and the bulk of the schools your cover area are going to be adversely affected by the new rules, someone has to say something.

As we've discussed the issue of divisional changes in the office, I half expected one of us to grab a pitchfork, do an Oliver Wendell Douglas impersonation and break out in a chorus of the theme song for the TV show Green Acres.

We're all small-school guys and someone has to stand up for the little guy -- the Hardin Northerns, Vanlues and Arcadias -- who are just as much members of the OHSAA as Cleveland St. Ignatius, Massillon or Findlay.

If I were a coach or AD, I could live with the new rules in every sport but football. There will be 72 schools in Division I and 140 in Division VI . And even though there will be nearly twice as many teams in the smallest school division, both divisions get 32 playoff berths.

I've talked to a few OHSAA representatives and members of the Blue Ribbon subcommittee that came up with the plan. Still, no one can tell me why the bottom two percent of the football schools, in terms of enrollment, are being taken out of the equation when evenly splitting Divisions II though VI and then are being added back into Division VI. My guess, and from comments I have gotten off the record, is that those schools aren't considered much of a factor in terms of football.

I double dog dare those at the OHSAA to drive to Dola and tell Pete Brunow and his Bears they don't factor into the equation.

I also have a big problem with the subcommittee. There wasn't a single, solitary member of the subcommittee with ties to a Division VI football program. Two Division V schools were represented and an administrator from Division VI-sized Worthington Christian was on the subcommittee but that school doesn't even have football.

Also, after contacting Toledo Central Catholic's Bill Axe, who serves as the president of the Northwest District Athletic Board which represents around 1/3 of the entire Division VI schools in the state, I had more doubts about the whole plan. He was a member of the subcommittee but didn't want to answer any questions about the changes and told me that he thought all discussions in the subcommittee were confidential. He also told me there were things discussed and said that people would not want to come out publicly.

How's that for open, fair and equitable?

They say you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink.

Well area small school administrators, athletics directors and football coaches, we've led you to the trough and now it's up to you.

Drink deep and drink well.


Post a Comment

<< Home