Thursday, December 30, 2010

A city championship in Charlotte? Here's how

In today's newspaper, I wrote a column about how to fix declining attendance at the Bojangles' Shootout at the Bojangles' Coliseum: with a city championship.

Here's how to do it, or actually two ways:

I've always thought a city championship would be best at the end of the year played in lieu of conference tournaments. There's always been a bit of push back from a handful of coaches and athletics directors in town. I still think that's the best way.

Coaches still like one thing about conference tournaments: how you can not qualify for the playoffs by seeding in the regular-season, then win the conference tournament and earn a No. 2 seed. It doesn't happen often, but it does happen.

The easy solution is if you're the highest placing team in a city championship from your conference and you have not already qualified for the postseason, you get that No. 2 seed.

Short of all of that, the city championship would come over Christmas.

And, like I said, I've got two plans.

Plan I

The field: includes all 19 CMS teams, plus Charlotte Catholic, Charlotte Latin, Country Day, Providence Day and Charlotte Christian. That's 25 teams. We add Grace, Northside, United Faith, Victory Christian, Southlake, Hickory Grove and Queens Grant. That gives us a 32-team field and a 5-game tournament played over two weeks.

The Charlotte Sports Commission, which runs the Bojangles' now, would seed the field into four eight-team regions, for boys and girls. Each region would play at four different sites around the county to a regional championship. The four regional champions advance to the Final Four at Bojangles' Coliseum.

Each region would also have a consolation bracket with third-place, fifth-place and seventh-place games. Those winners would also advance to meet similar finishers from the other regionals.

I would play the city semifinals, on, say, a Tuesday, then on Wednesday have all the consolation games played at various sites. On Thursday, championship day, play the city seventh place, fifth place, third place and finals for boys and girls at Bojangles' Coliseum. It would be a day of championship basketball and would conclude with the All-City team being announced after each championship game.

The all-city team would get a free pair of shoes and warm up from co-sponsor Brand Jordan (one can dream, right?) along with a $100 food coupon from Bojangles'. An overall MVP would also be named. City champs get letter jackets, rings, memories and bragging rights.

Plan II:

Some of the local public school teams are not much interested in games with privates who don't play by the eight semester rule (eight straight semesters to play once you start ninth grade). That would exclude, in general, all but Christian, Country Day, Latin, Providence Day and Catholic. That would give us a field of 24 teams.

In this scenario, the Sports Commission would seed two fields: 16 teams in the city championship and 8 in a "Gold" Division. Then you'd play down, over three days, to a championship. Everything else could remain the same.

In both plans, I'd get Time Warner Cable to broadcast the semis and finals on tape delayed basis as well as have a live selection show on local TV where teams could see where they are seeded with coaches' interviews etc.

I think it's something the city would get excited about and players would look forward to. Young kids watching would be waiting for their turn to play in the showcase, and it could be a great money maker for a CMS athletics department which could use a cash infusion.


Anonymous said...

Better crusade to keep athletics first....Definitely on Dr. Gorman's short list of cuts....You will have a 10 team tourney of private schools and the mad recruiting rush will be on

Anonymous said...

I doubt you will see varsity athletics cut. What is likely to go first is middle school sports and possibly JV teams. Also, some non-revenue sports (volleyball, lacrosse, golf, tennis) would likely be axed before the marquee sports.

Anonymous said...

While it wouldn't shock me to see them cut sports like golf and tennis, those are two of the only sports outside of football and basketball that CMS fields state champion caliber teams in. Both sports also are among the cheaper for schools to have simply because fewer people play them. If the country club sports were the only ones cut, you can imagine there would be some people with a big problem with that.

Anonymous said...

Great idea!

Let's do it after regular season though. I have two in high school and one in middle and they all ran to show me the article all excited

Anonymous said...

Cutting sports in CMS is the worst idea ever. Think we have gangs now. Kids will leave teams and hit the streets. Sports keeps kids in school...
Love this idea for city championship. I'm from Pittsburgh and we have them there and other than big Steeler games there's nothing bigger in town all year. It could be that here to

Anonymous said...

Great common sense idea. CMS can make enough cash from this to keep middle school sports afloat I'd bet. I hope Peter Gorman and Vicky Hamilton read this. The Sports Commission as well. I hope it happens. George

Anonymous said...

Great ideal, but the NCAA would have a problem with the shoes as a reward for the champion.The NCAA has specific definitions of “professionalism,” which include:

receiving any kind of payment or promise of payment for playing in an athletic contest;
agreeing to a written or verbal contract with an agent or professional sports organization;
putting your name on a draft list;
receiving educational expenses from an agent, sports team or college representative to attend a high school or prep college;
receiving gifts because of athletic abilities or reputation;
using your athletic skills for pay in any way (TV commercials, for example);
playing on a professional team; or
participating on an amateur sports team in exchange for any kind of payment/or gift ie shoes clothing oritems of a defined value

Anonymous said...

what about the Charlotte Observer as a title sponsor. This will need cororate support...Put your money were your mouth is or your pen...

Anonymous said...

I think this is a GREAT idea!!! This would definitely be something the kids would look forward too and I think more secretly the coaches and Athletic directors would also. Can you imagine the frenzy around such a tournament? The AAU hounds in Charlotte would have a field day. Recruiting at it's best.

Anonymous said...

Your suggestions are OK, but they don't address the real problem... sports nowadays market individuals and not teams. Whether its the Shrine Bowl, or a hoops tournament, the winner really doesn't matter.

Seriously. Who cares?

I want to see kids represent their schools. Nowadays, you have kids who don't care about their school because they weren't there a year ago and won't be there next year.

I live in Northern Mecklenburg County and there's a classic example right here: Davidson Day. Nobody cares about Davidson Day's basketball team except for college coaches and scouts. It's a joke.

It's like Northside Christian. Weren't all their players on Queen's Grant last year? Geesh... I mean, it just doesn't matter anymore. It's about scholarships, not good games. And that stinks.

Anonymous said...

I live in Davidson and I care about Davidson Day athletics. But I can understand why you would say that. I don't care much for the Garingers, West Charlottes, and Waddells because I don't have any affiliation in those areas. I disagree with you on the basketball there being a joke. I watched their boys coach at a couple of practices when he was at Cannon School, there is probably not a better teacher of the game in this area.

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