5-at-10: A sandy mailbag

5-at-10: A sandy mailbag

June 15th, 2012 by Jay Greeson in Sports - Columns

NAVARRE, FLA. -- Since we are wrapping up our beach time, we are going to move a little more quickly than the normal mailbag. (EDIT: We had this as our goal, then we went nuts on the first question and tried to be as quick as possible on the rest. But as our high school basketball coach frequently said, "Be quick, not in a hurry.")

Giddy-up, and wow how about that Tiger Woods? He has our complete attention this weekend after a dazzling Thursday.

Bernard Childress, executive director of the TSSAA.

Photo by John Rawlston/Times Free Press.

From Stewwie

Question for the mailbag: In regard to Mr. Hargis' article yesterday, what are your thoughts on how to change/improve the TSSAA classification system and should the multiplier be continued as is, changed, or scrapped?

About 15 years ago, as you know, the TSSAA split the schools that give financial aid to varsity athletes from the ones that don't. This was a fair split. Then a few years ago, some public high schools began complaining that D1 private schools were winning too many state championships. The multiplier was put in to "fix the problem" but was there really a problem or was it more of a collective case of jealousy from the public schools?

Stewwie,

Excellent question.

The current division -- schools that offer financial aid and schools that allegedly do not -- addressed part of the problem raised by public schools.

There has always been at least one problem in high school sports, whether it's a lack of coverage, an over-abundence of coverage for other schools, competitive imbalances or financial discrepancies. There are next to zero true solutions, however.

So it goes when you are trying to answer multi-layered questions that involve thousands of athletes and there are no yes-or-no questions. Every issue has a, "Yeah, but..." exception to it.

There is no answer, because once there is an answer the questions and the problems change. The split was designed in an effort to curb the recruitment of star athletes to the big-time private school, and if not curb it, then allow those schools to compete among themselves. And it worked for the upper-level private schools.

It did not address the issues about facilities or funding or 10-person coaching staffs or being able to attract student-athletes from anywhere.

The multiplier has merits, but it is obviously not a true solution because the smaller schools in Georgia -- which uses a stronger multiplier -- have the same complaints about the successful private schools.

Depending on the color of the bumper sticker that says your kid is a star student somewhere, every person is going to be swayed by their vested interests. And, when that vested interest is your kids, it becomes a Bullet-Proof Vested Interest.

There is no complete solution, but if fair competition was the only goal (and sadly, it's not), here's what we think would be the best set-up for fairness, competition and what-have you:

-- Split the public and private schools completely

-- Separate them by size, no multiplier, and have two private-school divisions and four public-school divisions.

-- Group regions geographically as best you can and allow the top two teams into the playoffs (Side note: Allowing four teams from the same district into the playoffs is nuts. There are 3-7 football teams going to the state playoffs and are there are basketball teams that could have postseason records of 2-4 and get to the sectional.)

-- While the TSSAA will not have the want (copyright Les Miles) to cut back postseason games (postseason games mean more coin for the TSSAA), we have a plan to replace not eliminate those postseason games.

-- After the champs are crowned in Public A, AA, AAA, AAAA and Private A and AA, put them all in a tournament and crown an overall state champ. The schools will still get to claim a state title in Class A, Class AA, etc., but the chance to play for an overall state title would be BOSS. Give the biggest schools in each division a first-round bye or give the teams with the best records a bye, but set up and have a six-team championship draw.

And what the TSSAA loses in a couple of bogus postseason rounds it gains in potential TV revenue. You think a state football bracket of South Pitt, Signal, Alcoa and Maryville against a C-A-K and a Baylor or McCallie wouldn't be awesome?

Plus, it keeps everyone happy: the public schools get a complete split and the private schools will get a chance to win complete state titles.

Granted this plan may have some holes since we just thought of it sitting beachside with a cup of coffee, but there you go.

The more we think about it, the more we like it. Get Bernard Childress on the phone STAT.

(Side note: For the rest of the program, we're going to limit our answers to a paragraph. Yeah, we have our fingers crossed too, because that seems like a lottery-sized odds of pulling that off.)


Michael Jordan

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

Hey 5@10,

My question for you this week involves someone who I consider the greatest athlete of all-time, Jay Greeson. No just kidding, Michael Jordan. I'm sure you've been mistaken for that before. I just wanted to get your opinion on Jordan as a team owner. Do you think he will resurrect the Charlotte Bobcats into a contender or is he doomed for failure?

CelticVol,

Flattery will get you everywhere. That said, MJ's career as a front office-type has been the exact opposite of his career as a player. The exact opposite, and no, that is not a good thing. For MJ to revamp the Bobcats he needs to do three things: Get out of the roster decision-making process (he was the one that thought Kwame Brown was going to be a star), find a big-time star to take under his wing, and get Phil Knight involved. Put some Nike muscle behind the Bobcats hustle. (Short answer: MJ as a team owner will be remembered as the best player ever.)


Miami Heat forward LeBron James, left, prepares to drive against Boston Celtics forward Mickael Pietrus, right, during the first quarter in Game 6 of the NBA basketball Eastern Conference finals, Thursday, June 7, 2012, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Photo by Associated Press/Times Free Press.

From JordanRules

The Heat are better when they attack the rim? That's all of your breakdown for the Finals? No wonder you have a crush on LeBron -- you don't know any thing about basketball.

The Bulls would wipe the floor with either of these teams and it wouldn't be close.

JordanRules,

We wondered when we'd hear frm you. And since we're moving quickly, the difference between Games 1 and 2 (research warning): There was a 34-point swing in points in the paint. Game 1: Thunder were plus-18 in the paint; Game 2: Heat were plus-16. (Side note: Is this the first finals match-up in one of three major sports that features two teams without an 's' on the end of their nickames? Thunder-Heat... is there another that we're missing?) Granted, we're not the Elias Sports folks, but we know a little about Naismith's game. And we're not so sure the Bulls could handle either of these two teams, but that will be a topic for another day since we're short on time and space. (When we get crunched on the time/space continuum, we start searching for Dr. Brown and 1.21 gigawatts.)


From Fred,

Just wondering if you have any beach traditions? Hope your family had fun and thanks for doing the 5@10 from Florida... it's a good time waster.

Fred,

Thanks for reading and we take a great deal of pleasure in being a time-waster (there are a lot of former 5-at-10 high school and college teachers nodding their heads at statement). We play a lot of cards at night -- Contract Gin is the game du jour (hmmmm, that sounds good, we think we'll have that) -- and we always schedule one night to go with the whole gang to eat a bunch of oysters and knock back a bunch of Co-Colas. That, and we get to spend a lot of daylight time with our tots.


From scole023

Thought you were going to have some college football stuff this week? Must of missed it. PS -- Did you get my golf picks yesterday morning? You know how I like to win stuff.

Scole023,

We got your golfers and at the bottom we have the final list of entries in the Wide Open golf challenge. (Side note: If we're still kicking and banging out the 5-at-10 next golf season, we're going to have a Major Golf contest, in which you pick eight golfers before the Masters and have to keep them for all four majors. Details to come.) And yes, we did promise more college football this week. Alas, and if you want we'll refund your 5-at-10 subscription fee. Here's a little something to make up for it.

Here are some odds from friend of the show RJ Bell of pregame.com for the upcoming college football season:

Alabama is 6-to-1 to win the BCS title, 2.1-to-1 to win the SEC and 1.8-to-1 to win the SEC West. As of this morning Alabama is a 12-point pick over Michigan in the season opener, a 17-point favorite at Tennessee on Oct. 20 and an 18-point pick over Auburn.

Auburn is 65-to-1 to win the BCS, 23-to-1 to win the SEC and 8-to-1 to win the SEC West. Auburn is an underdog in five games -- vs. Clemson, vs. LSU, vs. Arkansas, vs. Georgia and at Alabama.

Georgia is 19-to-1 to win the BCS title, 5-to-1 to win the SEC and 1.8-to-1 to win the SEC East. Aaron Murray is a 10-to-1 pick to win the Heisman and as of this morning UGA is favored in every game this season. Strangely, despite being a favorite in every game, the over/under on the win total for the Bulldogs is 9.5.

Tennessee is 150-to-1 to win the BCS title, 35-to-1 to win the SEC title and 8-to-1 to win the SEC East. UT is also a record-setting 13.5-point underdog against Georgia and the over/under on UT wins is set at 6.5.

Enjoy and we'll be back with the complete list of golf entries, including scole023's. The beach beckons and we're almost out of the week.

Discuss.