Football season prove flexibility's an option

George "Clay" Mitchell
Press Argus-Courier
George "Clay" Mitchell, Press Argus-Courier Sports Editor [For Print Only]

COVID-19 brought a lot of disruption to our lives. 

I've been working from home since mid-March. While I enjoy the commute from the bed to my desk, I do miss my desk at the office. It's part of the adjustment we had and needed to make.

Was it perfect? Of course not. Once I get my vaccine, I'll probably work from the office a few days a week. Mostly because my dogs got used to having people around a lot more often, and also... it's just nice to be around dogs more often.

We should have dogs at the office, but mine aren't suitable. One is about 90 years old in people years and she become crankier and crankier with each passing day. I probably would be cranky too if I had to rely on everyone around me when I needed to go outside, lifted onto the couch, or be fed and I have to wait for people, who move slowly, to help me.

Huh... that may explain a number of things. But I digressed, we're here to talk about football.

Personally, I'm surprised we were able to get through a full season of high school football this year. I thought Crawford County did exceptionally well. There was only one game missed because of a local team dealing with COVID issues and Mountainburg lost two games because of other teams. So, out of 40 regular-season games to be played this season, the county was able to complete 92.5 percent of the contests.

That's a big shout-out to all the students, coaches, teachers, high school staff, administrators, and parents who made the season possible. We just have to get through basketball, bowling, and wrestling season and we'll be back to baseball, softball, and track.

We'll get there.

One thing that has resulted in this that schools, conferences, and the Arkansas High School Activities Association can be flexible in regards to the football schedule and post-season play.

They shouldn't have done that. The same could be said for college and professional football as well. We can be flexible. We should be flexible. 

We should be making allowances for teams to choose their matchups during the season. I'm not saying a team can't go to a complete nonconference cupcake schedule but why can't they have a more flexible offering. Teams were finding other teams to play less than a week before the game. Other games were moved around during the week.

The AHSAA made allowances for teams to be able to participate in the playoffs. Why can't we have more of that? Why can't all football teams get a chance for the state playoffs? We do it for basketball for some conferences as well as other sports. Why not add football to the list?

Van Buren may not have made the playoffs under normal circumstances this past season but not only they got a shot at playing but the Pointers won their first-round game.

It's like in basketball for some of the classifications when they host their respective district tournaments. More than once in my past 20 years of covering high school sports, I have seen a team finish in the bottom half of conference play... go on to get a seeding for the regional tournament, and actually make it to the state tournament.

That's what should happen and it needs to happen more often, or at least allow the occurrence for a team to get a shot.

Also, while we're here. If the AHSAA has shown their flexibility with the scheduling and making allowances for the playoffs... why can't they let teams pick their own conferences? Why must it still adhere to the same archaic structure, which was okay 40 or 50 years ago but seems inflexible now?

Let Van Buren, Alma, Russellville, Southside, Northside begin to form their own conference. Let the Northwest Arkansas schools have their own. Give Greenwood the option of if they want to join the River Valley or the Northwest Arkansas Conference. I'm sure Mountainburg and Cedarville would like to be conference opponents again. Maybe even Mulberry can be part of that conference.

We can even be flexible enough to allow private schools to play in a conference with everyone else but perhaps give them their own playoffs and state titles.

If the goal is to create an environment to allow our kids the best chance to grow as a student-athlete, I would rather leave that in the hands of local school administrators.