By Ray Hamill — Some teams are refusing to give up on their playoff ambitions as easily as the North Coast Section apparently did.
On Monday, three high profile Bay Area coaches proposed yet another solution to the scheduling problems, by adding four state bowl games for one year only.
This would give the four NCS divisions affected most by the crisis the opportunity to still play for a section championship without giving up the possibility of advancing to play for a state title.
Unfortunately, however, it also appears to be just another proposal destined to be shot down, and it seems more and more apparent by now that the NCS and CIF are both resigned to not being able to play all the games.
Once again, if this is the case, shame on them.
Not just for failing to find a way to get the games played, but for failing to acknowledge how much this clearly means to many of the teams affected.
Several teams’ boosters, parents, coaches and ADs are desperately doing everything they can to find a solution, yet none of these proposals have been deemed acceptable.
If the CIF truly cared or understood the magnitude of what these games mean to these teams, they would jump at this proposal.
It’s a solid plan considering the circumstances, it’s certainly feasible and affordable, and not only would it give the teams involved the opportunity to decide their seasons on the field of play instead of by a coin toss, but it would also save the NCS from what has been and will continue to be a public PR nightmare.
A public PR nightmare, by the way, that was caused entirely by its own doing, as the section powers failed to act quickly or decisively, and without any real conviction.
There were alternatives
The delays have been caused by the ongoing wildfires and resultant poor air quality throughout much of the state.
The NCS, however, wasn’t the only section affected by the problems, yet it was the only one not to find a solution.
Or to put that more succinctly, it was the only section not to enact a solution.
Because there were alternatives.
“The coin flip is so lackluster a solution. It doesn’t show any leadership,” Eureka head coach Jason White said.
What’s most frustrating for the four teams up here who are now affected by that lack of leadership, is that there were several usable fields in the area for the games to be played.
Many of the section schools would have gladly given up home-field advantage and made the trip north just to be able to play the games, while others would have done so with some financial support available and better planning, neither of which they got from the NCS.
Dream matchup still on
Whether or not the CIF will accept the coaches’ proposal remains to be seen, although it would appear unlikely at this stage.
The fact it’s Thanksgiving week probably won’t help matters, even if that’s a little unfair to the players involved who have put in years of work leading up to this moment.
The CIF did offer the teams affected a small lifeline of sorts on Monday, announcing they can play out the NCS championships if they choose, but in so doing would forfeit their opportunity to play in the NorCal regional games and a potential trip to a state game.
And that means the dream matchup between Eureka and Cardinal Newman could still go ahead if they each win a section semifinal matchup.
It would be a difficult choice for teams to make, sacrificing the chance to play for a state title, albeit a chance predicated on a head-to-head record or a coin flip.
The NCS has more history than the state bowl games, but the latter has more prestige and has become a big part of high school football on the North Coast in recent seasons.
It’s also a decision no NCS team should have to make.
If the CIF listens to the latest proposal, they may not have to.