Foolish formula robs Indians of playoff chance
Coach Tony Woolfolk woke up Saturday morning to phone calls from supporters congratulating him on leading his team to the playoffs.
For a moment Woolfolk thought that the previous night’s activities had just been a bad dream, but he knew better.
Yazoo High fans were calling because they’d read in the statewide newspaper that Yazoo City would be traveling to West Point for the first round of the playoffs.
Woolfolk knew it wasn’t true because he had been up into the early morning hours trying to get someone from the Mississippi High School Activities Association to give him a reasonable explanation as to why his team was getting robbed of the playoff spot that it earned.
After having a couple of days to reflect on the situation, Woolfolk doesn’t seem to be bitter about it, but I wouldn’t blame him if he was.
The folks at the MHSAA who came up with the formula that determined Canton got to advance to the playoffs while Yazoo City stayed home should be stripped of their positions immediately.
They clearly have no understanding of competition and certainly not the level of competitiveness it takes to make it to the playoffs in Class 5A football in Mississippi.
Like the statewide newspaper, this reporter, the Yazoo High football team and most observers thought the Indians punched their ticket Friday. Yazoo City and Canton had identical records, and the Indians beat Canton earlier this year.
Any football fan could be forgiven if they assumed that was the end of the discussion. To me it just seems like common sense.
Instead the pencil pushers at the MHSAA used a bizarre formula to determine which team got the fourth and final spot in the playoffs.
Canton was awarded the final spot because its point differential in district games played (+3) was better than Yazoo’s (0).
Don’t ask me to explain that because I don’t care. It’s dumb.
If two teams have the same record and they played each other during the regular season, the winner should be the one heading for the playoffs. There is nothing anyone could say to convince me otherwise.
As one of the smallest schools classified 5A, Yazoo City fought hard to earn a shot at the playoffs. It’s not easy taking on larger schools that often have the luxury of starting different players on both sides of the ball.
But one of the best things about high school athletics is the fact that young participants learn some important life lessons. They learn how to work together, how to strive toward achieving goals and how to overcome adversity. They also learn that sometimes no matter how hard you try, you come up short. And more importantly, that failures in life aren’t the end of the world.
Unfortunately for Yazoo City, the lesson this time is that life isn’t always fair.
The MHSAA should have given them an opportunity to learn it on the field.