Colorado high school baseball coaches entered the spring expecting an 18-game schedule and 24-team playoff for their abbreviated season this year.
Instead they will get 16 games and a 16-team playoff due to concerns over equity with other “Season D” sports and Title IX.
Additionally, baseball, which typically has a 23-game slate, will be capped at scheduling 12 games for sub-varsity teams, instead of the 18 coaches thought were coming.
After unofficially informing coaches of an 18-game/24-team tournament for 2021, CHSAA changed course two weeks ago. In a March 25 email to member schools from commissioner Rhonda Blanford-Green and assistant commissioner Bert Borgmann (who oversees baseball), the association said concerns about a potential legal violation led CHSAA to match baseball’s schedule with that of softball’s from this past fall.
“In communication with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), CHSAA discussed the unintended consequences if the maximum number of allowed games were an option for Season D sports, due to the COVID-19 Dial changes and shuttered opportunities from 2020 spring sports season,” the email read.
“Although the Association would be permitted to offer an ‘up to maximum’ due to our history, the OCR voiced concerns about individual schools/districts that may have current compliance issues. One complaint alleging discriminatory scheduling practices by an athlete, coach, parent, etc., for a school/district would result in a full OCR athletic program investigation.”
Those “compliance issues” included the fact that no other “Season D” sport was adding games to its COVID-impacted schedule, as well as potential Title IX violations.
Now, in addition to losing two assumed games off the varsity schedule, teams are losing six games per team at the sub-varsity level while the playoff field will be 16 teams from Class 2A through 5A.
With opening day slated for May 3 across the state, some coaches aren’t happy with the late, official reduction, seeing it as an unnecessary hindrance for a sport that already had its season canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic.
“I’m not a fan of it,” Cherry Creek coach Marc Johnson said. “If they’re trying to equalize baseball to softball, well, softball’s played basically 30-some games in a two-year period, with two state tournaments, one unaffected (by COVID). And baseball will have played 16 if we get to play all of them, which is unlikely due to weather. It doesn’t make sense to me in terms of equity or fairness.”
Arapahoe coach Jim Dollaghan said he’s “disappointed” with the reduction in the schedule, especially considering the rapidly evolving pandemic circumstances. This week, Gov. Jared Polis said anyone who wants to be vaccinated can get their first appointment by the end of May.
“We are seeing the circumstances around COVID change each and every day,” Dollaghan said. “For us to look at what happened with the girls softball season, and then try to compare it to what we’re trying to offer, that’s not the right way to do it.”
Of all the “Season D” sports, only baseball was planning to have a schedule that didn’t have the same scheduling as its “gender dual/like sport.” …read more
Source:: The Denver Post – Sports
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