MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

January 24, 2013

COLUMN: Solution for 6A dilemma on way to state board

By Mike Kays
Phoenix Sports Editor

— What began as a proposal to split Class 6A football and create a 7A from the schools with the larger enrollments appears to be headed to a formal proposal on Feb. 6, but not a separate 7A.

Football coaches in the state’s top classification got together privately a couple of weeks ago and came up with a couple ideas.

The one that apparently that came out of that is one that will create two divisions out of Class 6A, keeping the same basic district structure but sending the top two teams in terms of enrollment regardless of finish within the top four places to a Division I bracket and the other two into Division II. There was also discussion of an additional couple of playoff teams per district, but apparently that idea didn’t have as much support, but what emerges will avoid some of the potential problems of scheduling caused in a clean split.

If the final proposal to be presented by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association’s Constitution and Rules Review Committee gets board approval, the measure would only need a simple majority vote among the 6A membership and could go into effect when districts and classifications are reset in July.

If the proposal does not add more teams, it would reduce the 6A postseason by a round, making it a three-week process. Such a proposal does not address the same disparity of enrollment factor in other sports. Broken Arrow (4,586.21 average daily membership) and Union (4,237.14) are twice the enrollment of 24 of the 32 6A schools including Muskogee (1,540.85). Eleven of the schools are half of Jenks (3,077), third on the list. But clearly the loudest voices have come from football and not, say, a sport like slowpitch softball, where Fort Gibson (586.98) has to compete with these folks.



Miller’s time

Tahlequah girls cross country coach Elzy Miller was named Oklahoma Track Coaches Association Cross Country Coach of the Year this past weekend coming off a season in which his top runner (Jessica Hembree) won her third state championship and his team was runners-up. It’s his third such honor but first since 1987.



Help wanted

Gore joins Warner in a search for a head football coach. Lee Blankenship, cousin of Muskogee head coach Josh Blankenship, will take over the program at Beggs next fall after two seasons as the Pirates’ mentor.  Warner, a little ahead on its process following the retirement of Chris McMullen, may have its candidate by the February board meeting.



Hoop-ops

Area basketball players will have a local stage to showcase their talents thanks to a locally-run organization.

D&D Productions, operated by Homer Deffebaugh and his brother Cliff, both local youth coaches, is planning a two-day youth basketball event March 15-16, the weekend following the state tournament for classes 2A-6A. The event will be at Muskogee High School and will be available  for high school and middle school boys and girls.

“There’s a lot of area talent and most of these kids after their school seasons have to travel on AAU teams to get the kind of exposure we hope to provide some of here. We want to provide a local stage for these kids to show their talents and we hope to have college scouts present.

Coaches of players must submit statistics for kids wishing to be considered. Coaches will be screened by the organization.

Homer Deffebaugh said the plans were ultimately to host such an event three times per year, once in the spring break time frame, once in the summer and again during Christmas (although Christmas might interfere with school teams).

Another event in the works is a two-day men and women alumni tournament involving teams from Northeastern State, Muskogee High, Bacone College and Connors State College for the following weekend, March 22-23.

Those interested in participating or coaching in either event should call (405) 209-5471 or (918) 684-9094.