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High School Sports: Pandemic forces possible exception to long-standing regulation - FlagSpin

High School Sports: Pandemic forces possible exception to long-standing regulation

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Over the years, the local high school sports association, SDSSAA, has resisted the urge to permit sport-specific exceptions to various regulations, for good reason.


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With full appreciation given to the passion many coaches tend to have about the sport they espouse, the association seeks to steer clear of any perception of bias by allowing some exceptions for some sports, but not for others.

Thus the very same regulations that govern eligibility for track and field also pertain to hockey and basketball, while those that govern decorum for badminton also apply to football, and so on.

But there may be one notable exception in the offing — a scenario that just came up this week in senior boys football.

This sport has long since lived by an agreement that actually runs contrary to the SDSSAA constitution’s position on tie-breaking games. The SDSSAA rule mandates that a tie-breaking game must be scheduled whenever advancement to the playoff round is at stake.

To this end, most team sports include a date in their schedule just for this purpose, only to be used if necessary.

For full-contact football however, considering the rest period that is mandated between scheduled games and the time needed to declare representation for NOSSA competition, it has long since been concluded that scheduling a tiebreaker in this sport is neither workable nor safe.

Thus, football coaches have been asked at pre-season meetings to accept that the tie-breaking formula that is used in playing regulations apply also to playoff qualification, where required. Coaches typically accept without reservation, understanding the circumstances in play.


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This year is different. Following a COVID scare during Week 1 that forced the first regular-season matchup to be moved to this week, the decision was taken at the time to extend the season and therefore, as a result, withdraw from NOSSA. All this meant that, for the first time ever, there was actually room to schedule a tiebreaker this season and it will proceed Thursday night featuring Confederation and St. Benedict, with the winner punching their playoff ticket.

I think all would agree that settling such an important issue is best done on the field of play, but at the same time, the safety of all participants must be paramount. Scheduling tie-breaking games without proper rest between games in this sport is certainly a risk not worth taking.

Thus, SDSSAA may well have to consider accepting a sport-specific exception to a long-standing regulation, after all.

High school notes

Thank you, Mother Nature! Most outdoor sports have been treated to some atypical yet totally fantastic weather to this point which is great news for all those involved.

Looking ahead to next week, the SDSSAA boys baseball finals are slated for Wednesday at Terry Fox, start time 4 p.m. Thursday will feature girls flag football quarter-finals, while Friday includes a triple header of boys football action starting with the junior finals, followed by the senior semifinals all at James Jerome.

Dave Makela is the athletic administrator for the Sudbury District Secondary Schools Athletic Association. His column runs weekly during the high school sports season.



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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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