Computer Points real reason Massillon, Harding denied by Federal League

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Federal League denies Massillon and Harding. Reason? Computer points. (Photo by Eric Frantz)

Tuesday, the Federal League voted to deny Massillon Washington and
Warren Harding high schools an invitation to join the league. The reason? Scheduling. Are you kidding me? Scheduling? No, the real reason for the denial is computer points for football.


Tuesday, the Federal League voted to deny Massillon Washington and Warren Harding high schools an invitation to join the league.

The reason? Scheduling.

Are you kidding me? Scheduling?

“It would just necessitate so many changes to league schedules, tournament schedules, non-league games for some,” Austintown Superintendent Douglas Heuer, chairman of the Strategic Planning Committee, told the Massillon Independent. “You have all of those issues in the scheduling process.”

Scheduling. Who believes that?

No, the real reason for the denial is computer points for football.

A 10-team league is BETTER for every other sport for scheduling purposes (i.e. less non-league games need to be found and less headaches for athletic directors trying to find suitable, sizeable opponents).

A 10-team league for football, however, is a nightmare.

A 10-team league in football means nine league games and only one non-conference opponent. An eight-team league provides three non-conference opponents and the potential for a ton more points.

Instead of beating each other up and keeping points in-house starting in Week 2, schools in an eight-team league can beat others up and stockpile potential the first three weeks of the season. Not until Week 4 do these schools start trading paint and points.

The added out-of-league play is an enormous advantage.

Less truly is better.

Don’t believe me?

Consider:

The six-team Greater Western Ohio Conference Central Division got four teams in the Division I Region 4 playoffs last year. That’s unheard of at the D-I level in a region that also houses the four Cincinnati parochial powers (Elder, LaSalle, Moeller and St. Xavier) and the Greater Miami Valley Conference (Colerain, Princeton, Middletown, etc.). But Northmont, Kettering Fairmont, Wayne and Centerville racked up enough non-league wins in the first five weeks of the season that when it came time for divisional play one, two and even three (Wayne) league losses couldn’t keep a team out of the playoffs.

Three losses in a 10-team league and odds are pretty good you’re turning in your pads, not cracking them in Week 11.

The Midwest Athletic Conference – the state’s top 10-member football playing conference – went so far last year as to drop a conference tilt in favor of picking up another non-league game. This was done for one reason – getting more computer points.

Instead of playing one non-league game as in year’s past, MAC teams now play two. The system? The first place MAC team doesn’t play the last place team the following season. Same is true for No. 2 and No. 9, No. 3 and No. 8 and so on.

Financially the decision hurt MAC schools (ticket sales for Marion Local versus Minster generates far more dough than Marion Local versus Harvest Prep).

In terms of computer points, it was a great move. MAC schools went 18-2 against non-conference foes the first two weeks of the 2008 season and nearly got five teams into the playoffs (Minster finished ninth in Region 24). In 2007, only two MAC teams made the playoffs and both won state titles (Coldwater D-IV, Marion Local D-V).

In football-crazed Northeast Ohio is there any doubt Massillon and Harding’s denial was a football driven decision?

Shouldn’t be.

And I’m fine with that. And I guess to be politically-correct the Federal League has to say that this was because of scheduling for all sports and not just football scheduling.

But really? Adding two more volleyball games is that difficult to do?  Including two more teams to the league golf tournament is somehow hard?

This past season Massillon’s boys basketball team played five of the eight Federal League teams. The softball team plays five this spring.

Yeah, scheduling seems to be a huge hurdle.

Now, getting into the playoffs out of a 10-team conference on the other hand…

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