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THE PRESS BOX FOR OCT. 24

By Staff | Oct 24, 2018

When high school sports gets to the point where it’s no longer fun because the deck is stacked and some schools have absolutely zero chance of participating – much less winning – in a state playoff event, it’s time to make a change!

The argument against private and public school sports competition continues to go on and on with more people adding flames to the fire each week.

Many believe it’s a state issue. Others say the WVSSAC is responsible. Others blame coaches and athletic directors. Whatever the problem or whomever is to blame, one thing is certain: The system is broken and unfair.

We often hear the saying, “If it’s not broken, don’t fix it!” I say if it’s broken, fix it. If it’s almost broken, use common sense. Do some preventive maintenance.

A recent column in a local newspaper all but encouraged Class A football teams in the state to give up. It basically said to hand the trophy over to Wheeling Central. The truth is, the sports writer was probably right.

Does anyone in Class A stand a chance of beating Wheeling Central in football? Not this year! Not next year, and if things continue, maybe not at all.

It is sickening, to say the least, that schools like Hundred and Paden City have to go year after year, knowing they have no chance at a winning season. They become excited just to win a game. Winning a game brings out the police and firetrucks for a parade.

The really disheartening part is the chance of a serious injury to the kids becomes so much greater that parents often encourage their children not to participate.

Leave the system alone if it makes parents and coaches proud, and if it makes fans cheer. If the WVSSAC enjoys seeing the small crowds at the state tournaments and playoffs, and if the WVSSAC has no concern for the safety of the kids when a small school’s 160 pound sophomore lineman has to go against a 260 pound senior lineman, then leave the system alone.

I like the idea of eight-man football for schools with 150 kids or less. That would be the best solution for the very small schools. It would require a separate class, which could be Class B. From there, you would need to strictly enforce the WVSSAC rule requirements for participation. In other words, no recruiting period.

The column in the local paper was spot on by addressing recruiting issues with schools not private. The private schools have been doing it for years, and now it is happening in other areas more frequently.

The rule of thumb “fight fire with fire” has become common practice in many areas. If they can do it, so can we, (no one is going to enforce it anyway, why not?) seems to be the attitude.

Just an example is the once-always competitive Paden City Wildcats, who lose several top athletes each year to surrounding schools.

It’s a state-wide problem that needs more than just talk. There are options available to consider.