The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

January 18, 2014

Oklahoma doesn't need more classes

By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Here’s a vote against a recent proposal that Class 6A be divided into two divisions like football will be in 2014-15.

What Oklahoma doesn’t need in the non-football sports is more classes — seven in basketball, which is more than Texas.

A state tournament that includes half of the teams in a class cheapens the event.

As Enid athletic director Bill Mayberry said, the other sports (maybe with a few exceptions) aren’t as numbers driven as in football.

The No. 1-ranked team in boys basketball, Putnam City West, ranks No. 23 in enrollment in 6A and the top-ranked wrestling squad, Stillwater, is the 26th-largest in 6A.

Proponents point to only two of the eight state qualifiers in fastpitch softball and volleyball being from the lower half of the ADM as well as only four of the 14 girls cross country and two of the 14 boys cross country state qualifiers.

Remember, too, there are some wild cards in this. Tulsa Kelley and McGuinness, two private schools, have been bumped up to 6A in some sports. Under the proposal, both would be competing in Division II in those sports. In those sports, Kelley and McGuinness are as potent as a Jenks or Union, if not better.

The proposal would not be good for Enid in the future.

While EHS is currently No. 18, numbers are up in the middle schools and elementary schools. Enid (1,730.11) was only 3.5 students behind No. 16 Putnam City (1,733.66) in Average Daily Membership (ADM).

• Next week, Enid is basketball central with the Skeltur Tournament at Enid Event Center and the Cherokee Strip at the Chisholm Trail Expo Center Coliseum.

Which is the better venue is up for debate.

The Event Center has more atmosphere with fans seated almost on the floor.

The Coliseum lacks the atmosphere with fans seated further back from the action.

What would be a good crowd for a small school event is dwarfed by the size of the Coliseum. The only consolation is no one has to worry about being turned away.

The 3,000 seats at the Event Center should handle a crowd like the Skeltur just fine.

Coaches, however, have said playing at the Coliseum prepares a team better for the state tournament at the State Fair Arena because it has similiar dimensions.

Parking is more abundant at the Coliseum, but the Event Center, being downtown, is closer to restaurants and such.

Enid still is the winner with a number of fans coming in from out-of-town.

• With the Event Center in place, why not have a holiday high school tournament there?

The Mid-Del Tournament, which Enid’s boys went to this season, is reportedly shutting down.

Christmas holiday might be  a good time for Enid to host a tournament. The Event Center, no doubt could use the dates and it would beat EHS from having to travel to Tahlequah or Bartlesville.

There was talk in the mid-1980s of Enid trying to start a tournament, but nothing came of it. That could give downtown hotels some business.



Campbell is a News & Eagle sports writer.