HS District Dilemma

By: JB Bauersfeld
By: JB Bauersfeld

J.B. Bauersfeld 


Every year about this time I feel frustrated with the way High School football punches it's state playoff tickets.  Teams have played for 6 weeks, but those games mean nothing now as district play starts.  For teams who have played great ball all season but have a bear of a district schedule, it's unfortunate, but for teams who have struggled and have relatively easy district schedules, it's a blessing. 

Obviously, my biggest contention with the way it's done is when good teams are left out of the playoff scenario.  A couple of years ago, Manhattan, Junction City, Washburn Rural and Topeka High were a combined 21-3 headed into district play.  It was just short of tragic that 2 of those teams had to go home before playoff football started. 

On the flip side, Seaman, Shawnee Heights and even my Alma mater, Highland Park have benefited from the district setup, making it to state with records under .500. 

It's a similar story in basketball when teams play in sub-state tournaments, but I'll keep it to football here. 

So what's the solution?  That's not exactly easy, but I'm sure the KSHSAA could figure out a way to do it.  One of my mentors, Mark Ewing, was a proponent for league Champs to get an automatic bye into the playoffs.  Now this would cause issues with the classification question, but it's certainly a reward for teams that played well prior to week 7.  

Please share your thoughts.

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