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Sectional Bowling Controversy

February 23, 2010 - Al Stephenson

I attended my first OHSAA sectional bowling tournament last Friday and became involved in a mile dispute.  As I was covering the tournament for the A-T, I made myself comfortable behind the counter, acting for all the world like I belonged there.

The incident in question was not actually a controversy, but easily could have been.  There was a tie for fifth place between two schools after the Baker games were completed.  Since five teams would move on to the District Tournament, a tie-breaker had to be utilized.

I was in the center of the potential storm as both coaches were called in to be informed of the tie-breaker.  Both seemed to be aware of the fomat used to break the tie.  Each coach would select one bowler from his team to throw a ninth and tenth frame roll off.  Total pins would decide the winner.

The problem that arose was what lanes were to be used for the tie-breaker.  When the tournament manager asked the coaches if they would prefer fresh oil (a pair of lanes that had not been used) the coach from School A rejected that idea.  When the tournament manager suggested that the coaches themselves pick a pair of lanes, the same coach quickly pointed out that the decision should be the tournament managers, not the coaches.

At this point it was determined that a draw for the lanes would ensue.  That to me made perfect sense.  What didn't make sense to me was the draw was done using the two pairs that team A had bowled on and the two sets of lanes that team B had used.

Though both coaches had no problem with this decision, I did.  Even though I had no interest in the outcome, I was curious why they would not use those sets.  It seemed to me that a bowler that got to use the lanes he had been using earlier would possibly have a slight advantage.

The draw was completed and the lanes selected were the ones that School B had used for their regular three games earlier in the evening.  School B also happened to win the tie-breaker and though I heard no complaint from the coach of School A,  I wonder if he had some doubts about the fairness of it all the next day.

I checked the tournament regulations posted by the OHSAA and saw no provision for the choosing of lanes in the case of a tie-breaker.  I wonder if there should be a provision for just that situation.

The view from my seat (watching an exciting high school athletic competition) suggests that the OHSAA take the decision out of the hands of the tournament manager.  There should be a draw for lanes used for the tie-breaker and the lanes used by the two schools during the competition should be removed from consideration.


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