Yesterday the Resident Press reported that a memo from the Arkansas Activities Association (AAA) reported that seven non-qualifying teams had elected to participate in the play-in round that has been granted due to the COVID virus. Teams that did not qualify may elect to participate in a playoff game due to mitigation efforts to make access to the playoffs fair for every team that was affected by the cancellation of games due to COVID reasons.
As of the publication date of this story, the AAA has issued another memo today that indicated that the number of opt-in teams so far is six. It appears that one of the seven teams from yesterday may have had second thoughts about participating after the AAA released the possible opponents and travel considerations that may affect the opt-in teams.
Among those considerations are the possibility of traveling a long distance to play a number one seed from another conference. Depending on the records of the total number of teams that will opt-in (will not be known until Saturday) the opt-in teams with the worst records would be traveling to play a one seed from the 3A-2 and the 3A-5 conferences. The teams in the 3A-2 include Harding Academy, Newport, Melbourne, Riverview, Salem, and Mountain View. In the 3A-5, those teams include: Prescott, Glen Rose, Jessieville, Centerpoint, Fouke, Genoa Central, Bismarck, and Horatio. According to Max Preps, the leader in the 3A-2 is Harding Academy, and from the 3A-5 is Glen Rose (tied in loss column with Prescott). Prescott and Glen Rose play tonight, so the winner of that game will play a opt-in team with the worst record.
So, if an opt-in team has a bad record, it could find itself traveling over three hours to play a top seeded team that has a very good chance of playing deep into the state playoffs. It is an interesting decision to make for the opt-in teams; it is a decision that not only affects their football programs, but delays football players who also play basketball at least one more week before they can join the basketball team to begin season practices.
Resident Press will continue to keep you updated on this as more information is available. And stay with Resident Press for a recap on Saturday of tonight’s Paris Eagles regular season finale at Danville.