Postseason Honor Selection Hits Snag

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Determining how postseason honorees will be chosen is another of the unique challenges being offered up by this school year’s change from the previous region-conference alignment to a division-section configuration.

The main snafu appears to be, should voting be done by computer, as the Arizona Interscholastic Association suggests, or in a traditional meeting of coaches?

In past years, coaches from the East region, of which Payson was a member, gathered at the conclusion of the season at a central location to vote for those they believed to be the most deserving players.

The process was inherently fair because head coaches had seen in action most all opposing players on teams in their region.

But in the new alignment, all teams in each section do not now play one another.

In fact, some teams played only two or three games in their section.

Which means, when Division IV Section III, coaches vote for the all-section team, they will do so without having seen all the athletes play.

That’s a significant handicap when it comes to valid voting.

Also, head football coaches from around the state are a bit puzzled about how all-section voting will take place because it has never been done before and the AIA apparently wants to oversee it.

A Valley-area division IV coach is among those a bit bewildered, so he contacted fellow coaches last week suggesting they gather for a meeting to decide on a process and select an all-section team.

In the coach’s e-mail, he included a letter from a Division I coach who suggests, “We are doing all-sections like we have done all-regions in the past and it should be done — coaches talking about kids and voting in person.”

The coach downplays any suggestion the voting be done by computer saying it’s “not fair to the kids.”

Apparently he was referring to an Arizona Interscholastic Association scheme that has coaches making all-section and all-division selections online.

A Nov. 3 AIA e-mail to coaches read, “As a reminder, Section and Division Recognition has begun for all sports. Make sure you login to your school page, click on contacts, and click edit next to your coaches name for badminton, football, volleyball (girls), and soccer (fall) and provide them with their e-mail and password so they can login and nominate and vote.”

The AIA online voting closed yesterday.

Another problem with the new configuration is that since sections contain about twice as many teams as regions housed, should the number of honorees be increased?

For example, if an all-region first team offense and first team defense was selected in past seasons, should that now be increased to first and second teams for both offense and defense?

That’s a problem coaches must decide on, and some appear to be moving in that direction. But it’s unclear in the AIA online voting if there will be more honorees or remain the same as past seasons.

Once it’s decided on how all-section teams will be chosen, the process begins all over again next month when all-division teams must be named. In short, the reconfiguration has presented headaches that few anticipated at the onset of the 2011 season.

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