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There were three proposals submitted by school representatives to the IHSA this fall to expand the football playoffs.
In one proposal, teams would play only eight regular season games and 512 teams would qualify for the postseason.
A second proposal also calls for the regular season to be cut to eight games — except for teams that don’t qualify for the playoffs who could play a ninth game — but would expand the postseason to 448 teams. In this scenario, each class would feature 56 teams and the top eight seeds would have a first-round bye.
The third proposal calls for the postseason to include 384 teams. In Classes 1-4A, the playoffs would remain 32 teams, while Classes 5-8A would expand to 64 teams.
All three of these proposals are ridiculous, and they should be voted down by officials at IHSA member schools.
The playoffs do not need to be expanded.
The school officials who made the proposals listed several reasons in their written rationale submitted to the IHSA.
Two of the three wrote their proposal would ease non-conference scheduling and two of the three indicated the proposal should help with conference realignment.
Neither making athletic directors’ lives easier nor preventing conference changes — which really shouldn’t be driven solely by football anyways — are legitimate reasons to expand the football playoffs.
However, the main reason for proposed expansion was increased opportunities for players to participate in the postseason.
The third proposal indicated that all 4-5 teams and almost 50 percent of 3-6 teams would make the postseason.
Is it really too much to ask for a team to at least have a winning record to earn a playoff spot?
In the first proposal’s rationale, it was written, “It is hoped that team and coaches’ morale would be sustained throughout the season since teams will be playing for a playoff seed throughout the season.”
How is their morale going to be when they get their butts kicked in the first round of the playoffs?
The disparity of talent between teams is already too great in the current format.
In the first round last weekend, 48 of the 128 games — or 37.5 percent — were decided by 30 points or more.
The average margain of victory in the first-round playoff games was 24.1 points, and only Class 3A had a margain of victory below 22.3 points.
What would happen when a 9-0 squad is matched up with a 3-6 team in the first round?
The answer is easy — it will be a beat down, and those games will make the state playoffs worse.
Expanding the playoffs would waste a lot of people’s time and diminish the already watered-down honor of making the playoffs.
So school officials with an IHSA vote, please turn down these three proposals.
Kevin Chlum is the NewsTribune Sports Editor. He can be reached at 220-6939, or at email@example.com.
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