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Finally fixing the problem

By By Todd Thompson, Sports Editor
Lost among the news that the Alabama High School Athletic Association was moving the Super 6 championships to Auburn and Tuscaloosa on a rotating basis was the announcement that several separate proposals had been approved by the AHSAA’s Central Board.
While several of the proposals deal with the AHSAA’s STAR sportsmanship program and service cards for officials who have served for more than 30 years, one dealt with a football playoff fiasco that affected at least one local school.
The AHSAA’s legislative council announced this week that all tie-breaking procedures must be completed at the time that reclassification occurs.
The proposal was made by Falkville High School in response to a playoff situation last fall that put the Blue Devils in an unusual situation where the team could only make the playoffs if it lost its final regular season game.
The Blue Devils did lose to Danville in the final regular season game, but failed to reach the playoffs after losing a coin flip to break a tie for the final post-season spot.
The situation where several playoff spots were determined by coin flip was a result of a new software program that was supposed to determine playoff spots almost immediately.
Instead, the program did nothing more than muddy a playoff format that can become a painful project in math to determine playoff teams.
What made the whole situation even more frustrating, especially for schools like Falkville, was that the playoff tie-breaking procedures were changed after the AHSAA’s fall sports handbook was already printed. Many of the teams involved in tie-breaker formats were using criteria that was no longer being used by the AHSAA.
The situation provoked outrage from football coaches, including Falkville’s Neil Estes.
Teams should be rewarded for winning and that wasn’t the case during the football season when a handful of playoff situations were decided by coin flips at the AHSAA’s headquarters.
Hopefully the AHSAA has taken steps in that direction.
Sports editor Todd Thompson can be reached at 773-6566 or at todd.thompson@hartselleenquirer.com

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