Area Football Coaches React to Possible 3A + 2A UIL Playoff Expansion [POLL]
The UIL's standing committee on athletics passed a proposal in June that would expand the Class 3A and Class 2A playoffs to include four teams per district, a measure that could mirror the existing Class 5A and Class 4A playoffs.
The proposal will go to the UIL Legislative Council in October. If passed, the expansion would be ready as soon as the 2013-14 school year.
One major benefit of the proposal is that all 11-man football championships would fall on the same weekend in December. Under the current format, the 3A Division I championship is one week before the other nine title games. That's because the 3A D-I bracket has one fewer round since only one team per district goes D-I. Adding a round to 3A D-I would enable the UIL to host all 10 championship games at the same site across three days.
But football isn't the only sport that would be affected by the expansion. All sports would add the fourth playoff team per district.
What do East Texas athletic directors think about the proposed 3A expansion? Here's what they said:
Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor
“My opinion is probably a little skewed just because I’m in a district where quite possibly the team that doesn’t get in could maybe win state. There are some districts where taking four would be embarrassing, but some community is going to be killing some poor coach this year and their team’s going to be a great team.
“What else (playoff expansion) would do is it would make the big school and small school brackets more fair. … That (“watered-down”) argument can be made every year, and that’s going to get taken care of in the first round. When they took one there were teams that made it that didn’t deserve it. They more you take, the more undeserving teams you take. The less you take, the less good teams are going to make it. You can’t have it both ways.”
Henderson coach Dickey Meeks
“I’d definitely be for it if they did it like 5A and 4A, but I’d have reservations about if they did it like 1A and 2A where they change your districts (for other sports). If they did the traditional way they did it in 5A and 4A, I’d really be for it, especially in a district like we’re in. Hopefully they’ll do it and do it like 4A and 5A.”
Kilgore coach Mike Wood
“There’s going to be four good teams in our district. In some of the smaller districts, if you take four teams you may end up with a team that isn’t playoff-caliber, but there’s going to be four playoff-caliber teams in our district. I’m all for it.”
Harmony coach Tim Russell
“I think it's a good idea. They're already doing it in the larger classifications. I understand the argument about too many teams making it, but I think there are some eight- and nine-team districts where a lot of teams don't make it but would have a chance to make it in a smaller district.
“There will be fourth-place teams that make deep playoff runs. There's some pretty good football in the third and fourth spots. I think the more the merrier. I'm not one of those who thinks it waters it down. I like it.”
Garrison coach Craig Barker
“I am in support of anything that allows our players to experience success and create opportunities for achievement. Adding another playoff team will definitely do this for our student-athletes.”