It’s a whole new ball game! The next two-year RPI cycle of 2018-20 could decide the fate of football in Colorado. The newest commissioner, Rhonda Blanford-Green, will have to change the climate and renew positive feelings to long standing programs suffering in older neighborhoods. We will see how well connected she is to the community and Aurora Central High School where she graduated in 1981. In 36 years the landscape of Colorado has changed dramatically and the preponderance of private schools that take a toll on local area attendance numbers. While the suburbs have added schools based on growth, unfortunately it did not anticipate a slow down in participation in sports because of the private sectors namely club sports and outside trainers moving away from playing for a letter jacket. The goal has turned into playing for State Titles and paying to play. Lost in the shuffle is playing for school colors and pride. Everyone wants the ring and the glory plus an opportunity to play next level. In most instances the playing field is not equal as the resources financially and available manpower is greater at some schools. In the past it has been booster clubs, alumni or donations that helped keep programs afloat. Now the harsh reality will be retaining athletes to participate in sports that has become a full time job that includes training outside the school.
Some of the issues could be resolved by offering school credits for participating in sports, say 5 credits per semester since many underclassmen go 5 days a week plus a Saturday game. PE credits could be exhausted or elective credits towards graduation. Some school districts allow it for working a job and well lets face it, athletics is a job if you want a winning program. The process is something we discussed in the past and needs to be implemented in many local schools. However, the first hurdle moving into 2018 will be the adjustment to classifications and possible realignment without worries of enrollment numbers. It seems retarded that a school can play up but not down. In an age where it is documented a group of schools continue to dominate the metro area we somehow continue to punish schools without resources in addition to athletes.
The argument about recruiting athletes is a sore one but needs to be addressed by simply inverting non conference game to back end schedules. If some athletic directors under the direction of their coaches want to play the game then lets manipulate the schedule to benefit the less fortunate. Zero week through week 5 can be the conference games that hopefully have rival teams attached so fans will attend in warmer weather. After all who really wants to freeze their ass of in late September or November when the home school has a loosing record and its cold outside. Conversely, the Evil and crappy RPI could have a winning team out because of some lame algorithm. (Last season a 9-1 and 8-2 team did not qualify and a 3-7 made the playoffs in addition to several other mishaps) Plus school spirit is high when it is a new year in August and homework is less pressing on a Thursday night. Especially since we can not seem to get more Friday nights scheduled and God forbid we talk about a 1pm Saturday game that only parents attend. So in essence we have most likely eliminated 2/3rds of the revenue from Friday nights and school spirit that build school pride because of #RPI and lack of coaching winning football that should mean something. Not some arbitrary computer calculation that needs board members to reconcile because of errors in data that are not openly shared with the community and athletes in its entirety.
In addition move up the football season to July 31st or the last Monday of July to get the necessary practice or participation time in for the school year without interfering with the actual school session. Getting an adequate amount of guys to practice every day has proven difficult. The 9-practice minimum is difficult prior to zero week or even week one as parents try to juggle vacations and holidays and time with their children. Speaking of holidays, how nice would it be to end the season the week prior to Thanksgiving? Yes being able to share moments with family on a 4-9 day holiday week for many and the ability to transition into winter sports. The grandparents probably would kick in a few bucks for those hideous plastic cards everyone seems to be selling these days to see them during the traditional turkey festivities. Figuring out a solution should not be that difficult if more research was done at a rapid pace. The decline in football is because many schools have gone to a 2 tier system and do not develop the younger teams. A better approach might be to host 4pm Freshmen games prior to Varsity 6 or 7pm Friday night games. Buses can be used to shuttle kids back and forth or parents could stay to see what the future might be like if they stick it out all 4 years. Plus the concessions stands might actually be busy and help fundraise to build the future programs. The biggest advantage might be NO Saturday commitment so kids can recover from a long week and parents could spend quality family time together or attend an event not related to athletics. Football in many communities is the big draw but the organization currently ruling the roost might have sold out to the media to bring in revenue. All 7 classifications do not gain equal exposure or are featured on over the air television or radio broadcasts. Plus the All Colorado Selections are somewhat biased because a panel does not openly discuss lower levels and coaches often do not advocate for their players. The collaboration process needs to be widened otherwise athletes will continue to say, “The process is so political and unless my family puts a banner in centerfield or advertises in the program. I will have no shot. Now it’s about all these former athletes kids or some trainer hyping kids. I liked it when pure skill dominated!”
Gotta love it when kids are brutally honest! For now it goes Beyond the roster. Perceived attitudes need new direction and change is good. We can only hope a better foundation will be built for Colorado sports and its athletes. Football has seen its troubles and the time is now to improve with a new chief in charge.
Our goal to provide engaging content in Colorado, from the individual to the team level, for high school sports fans. Football will enable us to deliver more value to individual schools as this is the largest fan base and crosses over to other sports after the fall season. We hope you enjoy the content as we try to keep it interesting and NON corporate and FREE.