Time to Split 6A in All Sports

   I need to preface this subject by saying the following.  Oklahoma is, and always will be, a football first state.  Nothing fires Oklahomans up more than a Friday night in the fall under the stadium lights.  However with the recent OSSAA ruling that has split Class 6A into two divisions, with the top 16 schools according to enrollment in Division 1 and the bottom 16 in Division 2, it’s opened a HUGE can of worms.  Most people have been very outspoken against this move but I believe that we have another problem in addition to this. 
    If we split 6A in football to create a more competitive balance throughout the 32 teams I can get behind that.  If that’s the case then you need to get behind this, the OSSAA should split class 6A into two divisions for all 22 OSSAA sanctioned sports.  I know that boy’s golf does not get the same publicity that football gets.  Right or wrong, that’s the way it is and it’s never going to change.  Having said that, did you know that Edmond North is in the middle of a dynasty in boy’s golf?  You did?  Don’t lie.  Edmond North won their 9th consecutive 6A state title in May.  No, it’s not quite the streak of 17 straight years of the gold ball in football going to either Jenks or Union.  However this is one school that has dominated this sport and has put a stranglehold on it for a decade.  Why don’t we have the outrage about that like we do in football?
    Football is king.  I mentioned that right?  By the way, this is not an eastside-Westside debate.  This is a big school-small school debate.  In the last five seasons, of the 20 teams that have reached the 6A semifinals, only two are in the bottom 16 in enrollment.  Lawton made it to the semis in 2010 while Midwest City did it in 2008.  Yes the eastside has dominated 6A but that’s not going away.  The big 4 (Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso and Union) are not going to split up their schools.  It won’t happen so that argument needs to go away. 
    So how do you find a competitive balance throughout the class?  You split it in half.  This is the right move and it’s needed in the other 21 sports.  It’s not just football and boys golf that the top 16 schools have dominated.  It’s all 22 OSSAA sanctioned sports.  In the last five years, 110 state champions have been crowned in class 6A.  99 of those 110 champions rank in the top 16 in enrollment.  In the last five years only 10% of the champions in 6A rank in the bottom 16 in enrollment.  Something seems wrong about that. 
    There are exceptions of course.  Bishop Kelley, who’s ADM is well under 1,000, has been dominant in certain sports like volleyball and girls soccer.  So let’s take those sports out.  Let’s just do 20 sports, 100 champions have been crowned, only 7 of those champions were in the bottom 16. SEVEN! OUT OF 100!  I’m not here to suggest that I have all the answers.  I’ll be the first to say I don’t.  This just feels like a no brainer to me. 
    I understand the theory that by splitting 6A you’re basically adding a state champion.  No one is denying that.  Say what you will but something had to be done in class 6A football.  My problem is not that they split 6A in football.  My problem is the thought that football is the only sport that has the problem.  It’s not the case and it’s not even close.  Once again, 99 of the 110 state champions in the last five seasons have been in that upper division in enrollment. 
    I understand the split.  I am for the split.  Just don’t suggest football is the only sport to have the competitive imbalance.  Personally, I think the argument that this is part of the “woosification of America” is ridiculous.  The notion that this is like giving out participation trophies to everyone is preposterous.  Just look at the numbers. 
    If you don’t like the 99 out of 110 stat, I’ll give you another one.  Broken Arrow has over 4,600 students, without a doubt the most in the state.  The school with the lowest total in ADM is Claremore with over 1,200 students.  You’re going to tell me that a difference of 3,400 students isn’t significant?  Just go down a class to 5A, the largest school is Del City with over 1,200 students and the school with the lowest is Bishop McGuinness with just under 700 students.  A difference of around 500 students give or take.  Compare that to 6A and it speaks for itself. 
    If for whatever reason you don’t care for or buy into those first two stats I got one more for you.  Move down to 5A during the same time span I gave for 6A, the last five seasons.  Of the 110 state champions crowned in 5A, only 57 rank in the top 16 in enrollment. 
    So let’s recap now.  90% of the 110 state champs in Class 6A have ranked in the top half of enrollment.  In class 5A, a little over 51% of the state champs ranked in the top 16 in enrollment.  That is as close as you can get to competitive balance.  That is without a doubt what is lacking class 6A, competitive balance.  Once again I’m talking about all sports.  This goes way beyond football which has been well documented to not have that competitive balance in 6A.  Of the 22 OSSAA sports, only 6 sports crowned a champion in the bottom 16 of enrollment. 
    The facts are there.  I don’t see a legitimate argument against this move.  If the OSSAA can split 6A in football to promote competitive balance, they need to do that for the other 21 sanctioned sports.  Whether you’re for or against the split in 6A football, you cannot deny the fact that Oklahoma has an extreme issue with the competitive balance in class 6A.  Football is king in Oklahoma, I will never argue that.  One thing I will argue is hypocrisy.  When it comes to the split in 6A, there is nothing more hypocritical then suggesting this is just a football problem.  It’s time to split Class 6A in all sports. 

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