Need to remedy game schedules

Back in 2007, the Michigan High School Athletic Association was forced to switch girls basketball from the fall to the winter, at the same time moving volleyball to the fall.
Feb 8, 2013

The move came as a result of a lawsuit filed against the state athletic association by a group that felt female athletes were being discriminated against in the old system.

One of the biggest questions that arose out of the move was how to schedule boys and girls basketball games during the winter months.

It’s an issue schools still deal with today. And those who are paying the price are the athletes, who are seeing dwindling attendance at their games.

At least on Friday nights, the boys and girls teams from each school play at the same location.

The bigger issue is played out on Tuesday nights, especially for teams in the O-K Conferences, where the boys team plays at home while the girls team plays the same opponent on the road, or vice versa.

Last week, that meant Grand Haven’s boys were at West Ottawa while the Buccaneers’ girls were home against the Panthers.

There was sparse crowd at the tip-off of the girls’ game at the Grand Haven High School Fieldhouse, and an entirely empty student section.

If the Bucs’ girls were struggling, that would be one thing. But this is a team that won the state championship last year and hasn’t lost a game in more than 13 months.

It’s a troubling trend that has been seen over the past few years. The format forces fans to choose which game to attend, and basically makes it impossible for either team to draw a gym full of fans.

We would encourage the O-K Conferences to take a closer look at scheduling and how it affects attendance, and consider switching the way they handle their conference games.

The MHSAA and the O-K Conferences had this dilemma forced upon them. Now it’s their responsibility to create the best situation for member schools. The system currently in place doesn’t do that.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

BTL2A

I don't understand how this is hurting the student athlete. Seems like it would give the students less sitting around time, allowing more time to spend with friends, family, and school work.

Bytheshore4

It hurts the student athlete because they see dwindling attendance at their games. 7 years ago, boys games were the Friday night thing, and the student section used to be filled to the top every time. I can't speak for girls games 7 years ago though.

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