I don’t understand the AHSAA

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I’m excited about football season being here, but there’s something I’ve got to get off my chest before this thing really gets rolling.

I understand that there’s nothing that can be done about it at this point in the game, but every time I look at a schedule, it bugs me.

Georgiana has gotten the short end of the stick when it comes to region play.

Geographically, Georgiana and McKenzie are less than 10 miles apart, yet they’re in different regions.

What kind of sense does that make?

As it is, Georgiana is in a region with Coffeeville, Frisco City, Fruitdale, J.F. Shields, J.U. Blacksher, Marengo, McIntosh and Sweet Water.

McKenzie’s region is composed of the Tigers, Ariton, Brantley, Florala, Geneva County, Kinston, Pleasant Home and Providence Christian.

Because of the way the realignment worked this year, there are an odd number of teams in 1A this far south.

Normally, you have an eight-team region, however, Georgiana is the ninth team in either region.

That’s convenient for me because it allowed me to compare distances to the eight other cities in each region to see just how much farther the Panthers will have to travel.

(For the curious, I used Mapquest, which will give you the shortest time from one place to another.

There may be shorter distances, but I speak from experience when I say that Mapquest will send you down roads made of wagon ruts that haven’t been used since Alabama became a state.

You don’t want to go that way.)

First, for the region they should be in.

Georgiana is an average of 59 miles from these cities (McKenzie, Pleasant Home, Florala, Brantley, Kinston, Ariton, Hartford and Dothan).

Want to take a guess at the current region?

Try an average of 87 miles.

The killers there are 98 miles to Sweet Water and Coffeeville, 125 miles to Coffeeville and 150 miles to Fruitdale.

The farthest the Panthers would have to travel in the other region would be a 111 miles to Dothan, and that’s the only trip over 90 miles.

Come on now.

That’s just dumb.

Think about the price of gas, what kind of gas mileage a school bus gets and how much it would cost to travel that far.

Looking at the other teams besides Georgiana, it’s also going to cost them an arm and a leg to travel to Georgiana.

But not only do you have the travel cost, but you also have the distance, which is also a factor.

A one-way, two-hour car trip will discourage a number of fans from traveling, both Panther fans and opposing fans.

What’s one way to make up some revenue from football?

Gate money.

If fans aren’t traveling to the game, how do you expect to make money at the gate?

It would have made much more sense to put the Panthers in the same region as McKenzie.

I don’t know what the AHSAA’s reasoning behind it is, but someone dropped the ball on this.

I guess Georgiana is going to have to just bite the bullet for the next two years until the next reclassification rolls around and the AHSAA comes to their senses.