On Tuesday, it was announced that the Johnsonburg Ramettes had been forced to withdraw from the District 9 volleyball playoffs because of a COVID-19 situation at the school that has required some of the volleyball team to quarantine as well as the school to go to all-remote learning between Oct. 28 and Nov. 3.
The Ramettes were the fourth seed and slated to host Oswayo Valley Tuesday, Nov. 3. Oswayo Valley will now receive a bye into the semifinals.
Yes, Oswayo Valley, the No. 5 seed, will now bypass No. 4 seed Johnsonburg and is automatically in the semifinals.
You know who doesn’t get a bye into the semifinals? Top-seed Clarion, No. 2 seed Otto-Eldred and No. 3 seed Elk County Catholic. They will all play quarterfinal opponents to be determined.
First of all, I feel awful for the Johnsonburg kids, whose season has now come to an abrupt end for something totally outside of their control.
Secondly, however, let’s take a look at the actual tournament structure with the Ramettes out. District 9 had already released the brackets to the schools before they were informed of the situation, but they were made aware of it prior to releasing the brackets publicly
This is in no way a knock on Oswayo Valley, mind you. They were just the beneficiary of the system the way it played out.
This was a quick fix. Here, I’ll give you an example.
That works, right?
That would have hurt some teams, namely Sheffield, Cranberry and A-C Valley, who would have got to host first-round matchups, but there are other ways you could have structured this so those schools wouldn’t have lost those home games.
Instead, the district is in essence punishing teams that had better regular seasons.
Now, this is not just a District 9 thing.
District 10 has seen this practice go on for years, ever since they went to an open playoff format. If a team ‘opts out’ the team they were supposed to be playing simply slides through to the next round instead of re-seeding the tournament. I’ve seen it happen every year for the past five seasons.
It’s easiest for all involved.
But it’s certainly not the fairest.
Come on people, we can be better than this. There are a lot of smart individuals in these rooms making these decisions, and I have to believe that if we can point these things out, that they can adjust playoff seeding as necessary to make it as fair as possible for the kids.
After all, that’s what this is all about, right?