4 years of 6A in Colorado and the beginning of the end of football participation

During the seasons of 1990 to 1993  Colorado high schools had the highest classification of 6A. Some might call these seasons the golden years of football when DPS dominated the landscape prior to the suburban sprawl. Others might say it was the demise of competitive football the following year when 6A was dropped and 5A became the big classification and will include the 2019 season. Highlighted are the four 6A champions in Boulder, Cherry Creek back to back and Overland.

As you peruse the 4 years of playoffs and the eventual champion highlighted in yellow you might say, nothing has changed. However, things have changed like more schools in more cities and more participation until about 2012. There has been a rise and decline in football in the past decade and a half since the concussion awareness in the early 2000’s. The good times of fun and football have been dangerously declining as parents are told the sport is dangerous and unsafe. Both the NFL and an offshoot called USA football has tried to make claims that the game is getting safer. Programs like heads up, referring to keeping the head up when tackling has made an impression at all levels. However, rugby has had a much wider and broader impact on the sport partly due to the fact that ruggers wear cleats, shorts and a mouthguard and no elaborate equipment. Regardless, the sport has face criticism nationally and change has been slow in the local Colorado region to change the way it has been done for years. As one views the four years of bliss just think about the 4 years in 5A when teams won a championship that may have never occurred had decision makers been stubborn to add 6A.
The 5A Champions over the same 4 year period were in 1990 Longmont over Thomas Jefferson 28-14.
In 1991 Longmont over Pueblo Centennial 26-0.
In 1992 Pueblo Centennial over Sierra 33-12. In the final year of 6A of 1993 the Double (OT) thriller of Sierra over Longmont 20-14. Nothing against these teams but it makes you wonder about competition had the leagues been commingled. Now fast forward to 2018 and wonder if the Metro 10 intermingle was or is a good idea for both 2018 and 2019 or just a ruse by CHSAA via the football committee by telling athletic directors, schools, parents and players they did a great job restructuring 5A.
Honestly between the insulting method to select post season selections via RPI and the neglect to balance the powers in all classifications, CHSAA has become a joke and a dinosauric group. YES,  a group of relics living in the past. “The good old boy network,” needs to give way to new thinking and methods in order to survive the wave of club sports. In 2012 the wave became a tsunami when Valor Christian entered 5A and Cherry Creek navigated the attendance guidelines, yet CHSAA did nothing to stop fluid transfer that were well documented. In 2018 no one wanted to play Valor or have them in their conference so expect them to eventually go club. Especially since the transfer rule is now a 365 day sit from the date on the paperwork. Since entering the 5A classification in 2012, the Valor Eagles have made a mockery of the competition by a current record of 24-2 in the post season. (Excludes 2018) Lost in round two 28-16 to Grandview in 2017 and in State 24-25 to Creek.

No one should be shocked about transfers as they have been rampant and annually and abused by one famous head coach since the 1990’s to current. So the blue print was and has been in place for years and again most noticeable in 2018 as rosters were published in late August. Again more recognizable names were on others rosters and immediately eligible while others sat out 50% of their contests as they beat the deadline of the new June 1, 2018 transfer rule. Transfers are unpleasant for many neighborhood schools but is probably why there is a decline in participation. After all whom wants to train 6 days a week only to be matched up against the power house schools that stack rosters and deplete neighborhoods. In 5A football the Metro 10 struggles as open enrollment has parents jockeying their kids to winning programs and these teams are considered developmental schools. What they, CHSAA are developing is a socioeconomic segregation. Yes, we said it! Inequality in particular because it concentrates in particular parts of cities and in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The ten schools are Smoky Hill, Denver East, Westminster, Prairie, Far Northeast, Northglenn, Boulder, Mountain Range, Rangeview and Adams City. If you examine these schools, their rosters and those of neighboring schools you will see how open enrollment has bankrupted neighborhood schools rosters and ability to compete while others continue to win at all costs.
While football is the forefront of all the wrong doings and shenanigans it is actually statewide and all sports. Basketball, lacrosse and baseball have always been an issue as club sports dominate those sports. Club sports is taboo in the world of CHSAA because it infringes on their income and control of their governing area. Sports once was an after school activity. Now it has become a business as many compete to earn a scholarship to pay for a post secondary education. The days of FUN have become work as parents try to figure out how to pay on average $38,000 a year to give their children a future. So when over 300 schools are involved in CHSAA it is hard to know if all schools are in their best interests. Again what do you get for their fees charged?

Club sports have figured it out. Club sports have a small board that is quick to react and juggles its competition annually to provide a more competitive experience. Also it offers year around programs that are valuable to those inclined to be around more competitive individuals. So while the goal was NOT to disparage CHSAA, many feel the facts make the statement of, why continue to participate in an association that only cares about a few.
The discrimination of whom is featured on television broadcasts during the regular season and the absurd post season fees charged to have your school class broadcast playoffs or many others that supported the community all regular season. Especially when the students are bumped out of the press box during the regular season for big money outfits that line the pockets of CHSAA.
So the beginning of the end may have started in the early 90’s but the steam rolling effect has impacted the current conditions. The only way to impact the future is to either make your voices know by writing CHSAA or simply turn to club sports, the wave of the future. That lure of a state title just like wearing a letter jacket is not that appealing when the goal is beyond FUN. The reality for many is a solid academic career combined with a high level of competition that might garner a post secondary educational scholarship. Something CHSAA has failed to focus on statewide as they discourage recruiting Colorado events and actively report on students outside the Denver Metro area. Again just facts.
As many go to the polls to vote today please plan on voting for change as committees try to change bylaws in the next few months. These changes will impact the future. Otherwise just opt out and play club sports where change is ongoing and the competition more competitive.
Two fingers and peace out!

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