Possible change to some state championships
With the schedule mired in the doldrums of the OSAA Moratorium Week, there has been a lot of time for pondering news that has flown under the radar.
There are two bits of fodder that I’ve been thinking about for a while now. The first was an announcement passed along to me by my editor in early July. The National Federation of High School Associations — and the state associations affiliated with it — is partnering with a broadcasting network to launch a national high school sports network.
After perusing through the press release and presentation, it appears as if the NFHS has done its homework. It wants to create a network where it aggregates the live-video its affiliated state associations shoot into one streamlined package. Mainly the network would broadcast online and on limited TV channels the championship events from various states, but a main goal is more in unification. Currently every state association has its own protocols and own systems for broadcasting live championship events, and the NFHS wants to simplify all of that and create a polished product.
The OSAA is an affiliate of the NFHS, and if this network is green lighted, it would then benefit from the unified product. In the near future fans in the state of Oregon would have a few options for streaming championship events online and catching action that was previously un-aired.
While I don’t see any problems with any of this — it’s actually become fairly normal for organizations at the collegiate level to snatch up TV revenue by creating their own networks — there are some worrisome indicators. The wording of the NFHS’ proposal leaves room for it to expand its product into other areas. I’m all for the creation of a network that broadcasts as many high school games as it can, but in the description of what this preps network would be, it’s described as the “single online destination for live and on-demand viewing of high school sports events, as well as highlights, features and game summaries.”
If the network was created then tried to expand into the turf of community papers around the country, there could be some rough times ahead.
Another bit of OSAA news comes out of a meeting from its state championship committee from June. The first nugget is the committee decided to support the elimination of consolation and third-place matches at volleyball state championships. That means if a team makes the final-site quarterfinals bracket, it’s no longer double-elimination.
The same proposition was up for the basketball tournaments, and the committee supports eliminating the consolation and third-place games from the 6A, 5A and 4A tournaments. The double-elimination format is still supported for 3A, 2A and 1A.
It is a mistake for the OSAA to eliminate this at any level. Some might argue that the third-place and consolation games are throw-aways, but I’ve seen what these games mean to schools. In 2011, Sheridan finished third at the 3A state boys basketball tournament, and when the Spartans clinched third, they celebrated like they had just won the state title.
Earning a trophy at the state tournament is a memorable event that will stick with these athletes for decades, and it shouldn’t be taken away just to save some embarrassed team from playing another game because it was upset in the semifinals.