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South Salt Lake Journal

UHSAA’s state tournament stance unfair says Cottonwood’s Athletic Director, calls for more flexibility

May 08, 2023 02:37PM ● By Brian Shaw

Cottonwood’s athletic director is worried about the amount of games the baseball team will have to play making up for weather postponements from earlier in the season. (City Journals)

Like many teams across the state, the Cottonwood baseball team is cramming in a slew of games this April due to the snow that blanketed the state earlier this month. But, the Utah High Schools Athletics and Activities Association is adamant that the state tournaments continue as planned and issued a statement in early April. 

“The UHSAA spring sports season is proceeding as scheduled, with individual member schools who are affected by weather handling rescheduling issues on a case-by-case basis. The association’s spring state tournaments remain on schedule,” said the UHSAA statement in part.

Cottonwood Athletic Director Greg Southwick read the full statement and stance by the UHSAA, and hopes something can be done. He’s not sure that the way it’s currently set up [just 24 schools in 5A qualify for each state tournament, at present] is fair. 

“With spring you’ve got those northern schools [in 5A Region 5], and some of them have only played eight or nine games and others have played 15…which affects the RPI,” said Southwick, in an interview with City Journals on April 20. Southwick also coaches Cottonwood’s golf teams.  

“I don’t know what the state’s gonna do at this point,” he added when asked by City Journals if he or other schools have been given any sort of criteria other than what the USHAA’s statement provided. 

Southwick’s solution: since this spring has had such an unusual amount of snow that has either postponed or outright canceled games, let all of the teams participate at their respective state tournaments. 

“If you can’t get all of the schools’ games in due to the weather, then I think everyone should go to state,” said Southwick, who lamented that his school’s programs—from the drivers of the school buses to the coaches, staff and players themselves—are getting overworked. 

“It’s not fair [to the schools] when the RPI is not going to be true to teams that have played eight or nine games—they’re going to be sitting higher than teams that have played 23 games.” 

In the second week of April, when the City Journals first attempted to contact Southwick, for example, he asked to be called back the following day. 

The reason was that Southwick was in the unique position of having to attend to an injury suffered by a player on Cottonwood’s baseball team—because his athletic trainer was halfway across town attending to other injuries suffered by other Cottonwood players in a different sport. 

To that end, Southwick said he’s still worried about how the number of games is affecting a Colts baseball team that has played five games in seven days from April 11-18 and will play another four games the following week. 

“We’re one of the top teams in our region,” said Southwick of the Colts 3-1 record in Region 7, 6-6 overall. “But you’re still facing the same problem with the schools who aren’t getting the same number of games in [potentially getting some sort of leeway].” 

The Cottonwood soccer team has four games scheduled from April 19-26, and according to Southwick, the injuries are piling up across all of the Colts’ teams. 

Southwick said that it wouldn’t be that difficult for the UHSAA to adopt during this very unique circumstance the same format it used several years ago. 

“You can still have the top teams get the first-round byes,” Southwick said. “But you can give all these kids a chance to see…let them all in.” λ