Some things for next NHIAA director to consider

The most important position when it comes to high school sports in the Granite State will be vacant in the near future.

I’m not here to speculate on who might follow R. Patrick Corbin as executive director of the New Hampshire Interscholastic Athletic Association, and I’m not here to tell you who should follow the former Nashua principal.

What I am going to do is provide the new director with a list of things he or she should consider working on starting on Day 1. Call it a list of changes, or a list of improvements, or a list of bad ideas, but here’s what a few items the new head of the NHIAA should take into consideration on July 1, 2014.

• Find a neutral site to host football championship games. This idea has had a few starts and stops in the last 10 years. In 2007, a plan was put in place before the fall season to have division championship games at various turf field across the state. That was scrapped mid-season.

In 2012, the plan was to host the championship games over two weekends at Saint Anslem College. That, too, was scrapped mid-season.

Now, with UNH set to add lights to Cowell Stadium before the 2014 football season, the time is right to schedule the three championship games for a Saturday – or Sunday – next November.

• Spread out the playoff schedule. This past fall, there were 48 tournament games scheduled for Oct. 31, which followed the 34 games played the day before. But on Oct. 28 and Nov. 1 – Monday and Friday of that same week – there were none. Likewise, last spring, when some teams postponed preliminary round softball games because of rain, there was upwards of 60 tournament games scheduled for one day.

If a school has multiple teams playing on the same day, how do fans – or in some cases, parents who have kids playing on those teams – decide where to go? And in an age where the quantity of media members is dwindling, scheduling a large volume of games on one day means someone is getting overlooked.

This only gets worse for the winter season, when there are 10 championship games – all four boys basketball, all four hockey, D-I girls and unified basketball – all scheduled for March 15 at four different locations.

• Crown some true state champions. One of my biggest pet peeves is hearing, or reading, how this basketball team is a state champion, or that lacrosse team is a state champion. There are only seven sanctioned sports that are competitions among the entire state. Boys volleyball, bowling, gymnastics and girls hockey only have one division, while wrestling, swimming and track and cross country don’t recognize the teams that finish first at the Meet of Champions, only individuals.

It wouldn’t be difficult to add a state tournament of eight or four teams, depending on the sport, to be played at the conclusion of the division tournaments. Sports like basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, just to name a few, would draw decent crowds – also known as revenue for the NHIAA – and be competitive.

• Expand NHIAA.org. The organization has done a lot of good things to its website in the last six or seven years. and I still can’t believe there’s an NHIAA app.

But there’s so much more that could be done, like including standings and records from years past. Getting that historical information onto the site would be huge.

• Improve media access during tournaments. I know, you’re reading this one and thinking ‘why do I care?’ But a lot of times, it can be a nightmare trying to find a coach and athletes after a tournament game. Since most of those games are now held at college sites, and staffed by the colleges, why not set up a media room for postgame interviews. It takes two people to wrangle up each team, and another to direct the media where to go, and it would likely take minutes to complete.

And I’d guarantee we’d all be a lot less likely to get lost in the dungeon beneath UNH’s Lundholm Gym.

Joe Marchilena can be reached at 594-6478 or jmarchilena@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Marchilena on Twitter
(@Telegraph_JoeM).