It may be time for the decision makers in Colorado to put on their big boy pants and add 6A Football in Colorado. Past performances indicates that there are several schools fielding teams that have an advantage over the current classifications, namely in 5A football. The 2016 Football season has numerous changes in all of its classifications. Most noticeable were the Mountain Schools forced to 4A from 5A while Chatfield and Heritage chose to compete at the lower level. Many will ask why and the answer is simple, an unfair playing field. Many will blame fluid transfer rules and the open enrollment of private schools. However, the organization and committees that oversee the competitive nature of all sports has failed the collective group by allowing this to continue for over two decades. Many athletic directors, coaches and parents are tired of seeing the rules massaged to benefit certain programs. The Blueprint of having a lease, water or electrical bill with an athletes name or the parents on it just to be in an attendance area has become a joke but allowed to happen. So in order to write the wrong it should be a HIGH priority to add 6A Football to Colorado and possibly other sports. The unfair advantages of recruiting has been occurring for decades but more of a reality over the past 5 years. Just look at the rosters or ask the athletes whom played little league together as they know better than anyone. Stacked little league teams are starting to translate into a burden for schools, ADs and coaches that are trying to play by the loose rules in place. Unfortunately those rules do not apply to the entitled group of parents wanting to win at any cost and are willing to contribute to breaking the rules all to play a sport. Meanwhile they have little regard for the education process as a 4.40 40 yard dash is more important than a 4.40 GPA. What is at stake is thousands of dollars as those that have the “JACK” (Money) will prevail long term as attorneys are the first threat in order for some families to get their way. In addition, personal and team training that was once taken care of by the local schools has jeopardized many teams.
The focus is not team but self and selfless acts. Thousands of dollars is being spent on athletics and NOT academics all to be a D1 or bust athlete. Unfortunately the reality is most high school athletes should just enjoy 4 years of having FUN as the numbers indicate post secondary athletics does not happen for 94% of the current high school student athletes. If all of the above fails parents, then the trend is to attend a school out of state to be noticed or obtain better results for themselves. Thus disregarding their responsibility to team that most coaches try to instill in their athletes during their 4 year involvement. Life lessons are being skirted but that is what happens when the levy breaks. So one way to fix it would be to create a 6A classification that allows schools to play out of state teams and count towards the local state title computer RPI rankings in place. A current computer model suggests the following schools should be in 6A:
- Cherry Creek
- Ralston Valley
- Cherokee Trail
- Regis Jesuit
These 9 schools have had a ten year success rate and either are a private school without boundaries or have a large population of enrollment that challenges current 5A schools with lower numbers. Several of the current 42 5A schools take the neighborhood approach and grow organically. So it would be interesting to see how many of the 33 remaining teams would want to play up in 6A.
All of this could be achieved with an 8 game schedule with a playoff format of an elite 8. Yes 8 of the 9 would get a playoff birth and make every match up more interesting. The season would end early, November and give a much needed break to multiple sport athletes playing winter sports. Also the pressures of Zero week or starting the football season out of state would allow families to have a vacation before the season and school starts. In addition it might not compromise athletes to choose a sport because of club and travel teams that seem to be year around sports that end late July. In some instances these sports overlap both OTAs and the official start of the season. Also those that want to focus on safety, the season would only be 11 total games if teams played in the championship game. Something similar to IVY league schools that believe less is more and the body can only endure so many hits per season. 600-650 has been the number thrown around. Also it may increase more attendance because every game is meaningful. Depending on the start of the season of August versus September, the championship could be on Thanksgiving weekend. An early start give parents a much needed break between seasons or a vacation on a Holiday weekend to spend it with family if in the Championship game.
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