Tahlequah Daily Press

High School Sports

April 14, 2013

6A football split is a comedic mess

Let the Cook the Books Games commence.

It’ll be an epic battle of wills between schools to control their enrollment to pick up that now-coveted No. 17 spot on the ADM list that the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association comes up with every academic year. Being in the middle of the pack in Class 6A is now more desirable than ever.

If you’re No. 17, all of a sudden you’re the big shot on campus. Too bad that campus is akin to the University of Southern New Hampshire — or whatever that disgraceful online degree program goes by.

And much like a degree from some online farce, the new 6A Subdivision Minor League trophy will be just as worthless.

It should even be outfitted with an asterisk.

When someone asks, “hey, who won the 6A title this year?”, everyone’s mind will instinctively think of Jenks, Union, Broken Arrow, Owasso, or one of the Edmond or Moore schools — if the westside schools can ever break through.

Anyone that can see the writing on the wall will know the new *6A* champion is nothing better than the 17th best team in Oklahoma.

But as of Wednesday, when the OSSAA approved the new system that was voted on by football coaches and athletic directors in 6A, school ranging from No. 15 to No. 20 started concocting ways to fall below the top-16 line.

With the new system in place, 6A will be split into two 16 championship subdivisions, with the top 16 and bottom 16 each receiving *state championship* trophies.

The solution does nothing for BA, Union, Jenks, Owasso, Mustang, the Edmond schools or Moore schools. With all sizable enrollments, they’re all stuck in the upper echelon of 6A — or what we’ll call the real 6A.

But for schools like Putnam City, Norman, Lawton, Bartlesville and Enid — schools occupying Nos. 15 through 19 on the average daily membership list — there is added incentive to curtail enrollment, despite all being public schools. The smaller number of kids at each school means a better chance to win a *state championship* in football.

Because after all, they’ll all be liberated from the big, bad, evil bullies of Jenks and Union.

The idea to hatch a new subdivision in 6A was instituted all because people are tired of seeing Union and Jenks win football titles, which they’ve traded off doing since 1995. In reality, what 30 other schools in 6A would enjoy would be a universe where Union and Jenks play nobody but each other.

Instead, all westside schools with substantial ADM’s are still stuck with the Evil Axis of Power from the East.

“I would have loved to see it stay the same,” Edmond North coach Jeremy Dombek said, “but I am not totally upset about the way it turned out.”

That’s called putting on a good face. Behind closed doors, there’s a good chance the conversations are much different.

In towns like Enid, there will be parades if the Plainsmen fall below the dreaded No. 16 spot.

Enid coach Steve Chard: “This gives us a legitimate chance to win a title.”

Funny thing is, Enid had a legitimate chance to win a state championship in 2006 and lost to Jenks in the title game. Same thing goes for Norman North last year.

The smaller 6A schools love to play the “woe is me” card and gripe about how big Jenks, Union and BA are. Get over it. If you don’t like getting your brains beat in, get better or shut down the football program.

Nothing is going to alter enrollment at those schools.

Well, let’s back up. Something has changed — just not enrollment numbers. We now have an inferior subdivision of 16 teams vying for a inconsequential *trophy*.

The added slap in the face to all the 16 teams in the real 6A is they all will now lose an extra playoff game because the postseason will have to be shortened.

So basically because other 6A schools are unhappy about the Tulsa area’s Terrible Two, the players lose an extra week of fun on the football field.

No wonder Union abstained from voting on either of the changes to the landscape in 6A football. There was no superior alternative, so why vote at all?

Kudos to Emily Warren and the rest of Redskin Nation from staying away from the giant mess that is now 6A football. (That was tough for this Broken Arrow graduate to say.)

One school that should be jumping for joy at the new 6A structure is Midwest City. The Bombers have routinely showed they can hang with all the big boys in 6A. Same goes for Booker T. Washington, which will undoubtedly have a bump in ADM for the 2013-2014 school year.

Mark is down.

So, what’s going to happen when Midwest City and BTW start monopolizing *state championships* in 6A’s new lesser half. What new structure will come about when 6A coaches still aren’t satisfied with the way this whole debacle played out?

Luckily, we have another decade before that hurdle presents itself.

Until then, let the Cook the Books Games begin.

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bjohnson@tahlequahdailypress.com

Follow me @BenJohnsonTDP

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