COMMENTARY-SOMETHING MUST CHANGE
We recently made another trip to Lafayette for a Richmond basketball game. Something needs to change, and soon!
I wrote a story some months ago about how many trips Richmond has made to Lafayette, Logansport, Kokomo and Marion over the last two seasons. These trips included freshmen teams and it included every sport. The numbers to the north were shocking.
You may ask why I am bringing this subject to the table again? It was proposed a few years ago when the NCC lost New Castle and Huntington North that travel in the conference would be cut with the conference going to divisions. The athletic directors at the time were concerned about travel time and budgets. So what happened?
The Richmond boys basketball team will still head to Lafayette Jeff and Logansport this season. The girls head back to Lafayette two more times. . That means both teams will travel to Lafayette or Logansport SIX times this basketball season alone. SIX times!
If you review this season alone, the varsity football team traveled to Logansport, the JV team went to Lafayette twice…..the volleyball team played at Logansport and Harrison…..the wrestling team traveled to Lafayette. So, in just this season alone, not counting other sports, we have or will be making 12 trips to Lafayette and or Logansport.
Now, we know that getting into another conference is probably out of the question but isn’t there another alternative?
Well allow me to propose this for football and basketball.
Hers is an idea I came up with three years ago. The NCC will play four division games and two cross division games, one at home and one on the road. The final week (week 9) will be held open for the NCC to play the final week of the conference with all 10 teams seeded. So here is an example of what a Richmond football schedule may look like:
WEEK 1: vs. Connersville (Non-Conference)
WEEK 2: @ New Palestine (Non-Conference)
WEEK 3: vs. Indy Tech (East)
WEEK: 4: @ Muncie Central (East)
WEEK 5: vs. Logansport (West)
WEEK 6: @ Marion (East)
WEEK 7: @ Lafayette Jeff (West)
WEEK 8: vs. Anderson (East)
*WEEK 9: West #1 vs. East #1
West #2 vs. East #2
West #3 vs. East #3
West #4 vs. East #4
West #5 vs. East #5
WEEK 10: Sectionals
- You could use a neutral location to play the final week perhaps on a Saturday or use Sagarin Ratings to determine where the final games are played… at home of the higher rated team (or team with better record of course). For example this past season’s regular season final games would have looked like this:
#1 East Marion at #1 West Lafayette Jeff
#2 East Indy Tech at #2 West Kokomo
#3 East Muncie Central at #3 McCutcheon
#4 East Anderson at #4 West Harrison
#5 East Richmond at #5 West Logansport
Yes, Richmond would have to play at Logansport in the final game, but it would add a little more incentive to finish higher in your division, unless again they could play at a neutral location.
As for basketball, play home and home within the division. Most college conferences play home and home, why not high school?
So Richmond would play Anderson, Muncie Central, Indy Tech and Marion twice. That’s eight games within the division. There would be just two cross over games, one at home and one on the road and just two games outside the division. If you want to have a conference champion, do the same as football. #1 West vs. #1 East and so on. Perhaps using a neutral location on a Saturday to play all five games.
So Richmond’s schedule (or the NCC portion) could look like this:
vs. East Opponent…..Muncie Central
at East Opponent……Anderson
vs. East Opponent….Marion
at East Opponent….Indy Tech
vs. West Opponent….Lafayette Jeff
at West Opponent….Harrison
at East Opponent….Muncie Central
vs. East Opponent….Anderson
at East Opponent….Marion
vs. East Opponent….Indy Tech
NCC FINAL GAMES:
This season’s tourney would look like this according to the current standings:
#1 West McCutcheon vs. #1 East Marion
#2 West Lafayette Jeff vs. #2 Indy Tech
#3 West Logansport vs. #3 Anderson
#4 West Kokomo vs. #4 Richmond
#5 West Harrison vs. #5 Muncie Central.
It’s not perfect and I am sure there are several holes in the plan but, as you can see we’ve eliminated several road trips for Richmond to Lafayette and Logansport and the competition level hasn’t changed. In basketball I like the idea of playing in the division twice. It works in the Big 10, the SEC and the ACC…why not a smaller version in the NCC?
Now the old timers may not care for the changes I am sure. Some are hanging on to the delusion that the NCC shouldn’t change because of tradition. Well, guess what? It’s 2018 and nothing ever stays the same. For Richmond, its student-athletes and the athletic budget, it’s either time to get out of the NCC or propose REAL changes to cut down of the travel as we were promised several years ago.