Over the past couple of months, there was a strong debate going about whether or not baseball and softball seasons should be extended by a two-week timeframe.
Proponents of the change saw the decision to extend both seasons by two weeks as a way to give players additional rest and allow for time to make up baseball and softball games if several days of inclement weather were to occur.
On the other hand, detractors saw that same decision as a threat to graduations, family vacations, and even the overall mindset of what baseball was all about.
But when it all came down to it, an ultimate choice on one side or the other wasn’t really reached.
On Thursday, OHSAA Assistant Commissioner Jerry Snodgrass announced via Twitter that the discussion would be “tabled” — for now — until more data from principals were collected as far as graduation conflicts were concerned.
The message certainly disappointed Clay baseball head coach Marc Cottle and Green baseball head coach Dan McDavid, who wanted the extension to pass without delay.
“I’m still for the change,” McDavid said. “Conflicts with graduations are more likely to arise with the tournaments set the way that they are. It has affected Green twice in the times that I have been coaching, once in 1986 where my team was in the OHSAA Final Four the day of graduation. My kids were given the choice of playing or going home to graduate. One went home, the rest stayed to play. In 2010, we were in the (Division IV) district finals. At that time, we had graduation on the field after the game in full, with caps, gowns, and the diploma presentation.”
“I am for the extension and was hoping that the OHSAA would compromise and at least give us one more week,” Cottle said. “Small schools like ours are at a big disadvantage with kids playing multiple sports.”
On the other side of the coin, West’s Dani Coleman was pleased with the decision to put the discussion to a nap, but hopes that the ultimate decision keeps student-athletes from she believes would be an over-extension of themselves.
“I just don’t think that extending the season after the school year’s end is a good thing,” Coleman said. “It’s travel ball season for softball, basketball has summer scrimmages, and volleyball starts open gyms in July. I am a diehard softballer, but players need to have a little down time to transition into other sports.”
Cottle’s and McDavid’s points are valid, especially Cottle’s. In addition to only having six days off, total, between April 10 to May 2 — and three of those days were Sundays, when no games are played — the Panthers did all of that while playing with a 10-man roster. Three of those 10 players — Cole Gilliland, Drew Hadsell, and Brody Riffe — didn’t even take to the diamond until about a week before the season started due to a Division IV Regional Final appearance in basketball.
“The success of our basketball team was a great thing last year, and Brody, Cole, and Drew really needed a week break after a long, successful season,” Cottle said. “However, I wasn’t able to give it to them because we were less than a week away from the start of the year. Hopefully, they’ll revisit this and come up with a solution to help baseball programs in the near future.”
One solution that McDavid brought up — which includes moving baseball and softball to the fall and football back to the spring — is intriguing, even if it may not be a likely change. A change like that, however, would affect football scheduling, which is usually done in advance, and darkness, with the time change from the summer season to the fall season, could create issues.
“Since our weather is so poor in the spring,” McDavid said, “why don’t we play baseball and softball eight weeks in the fall, move basketball up to start after baseball, and then play football in the spring?”
It’s an idea that certainly intrigued Coleman.
“I have always considered baseball and softball in the fall to be a nice idea.”
For further updates on the debate regarding baseball and softball scheduling, check out the Daily Times website at www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com.