Past History Is Past Its Time, Change It | KOB 4
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Past History Is Past Its Time, Change It

Past History Is Past Its Time, Change It Photo: MGN

J.P. Murrieta
November 17, 2017 11:32 PM

There are a couple changes I would like to see made when it comes to the high school state football championships, but first and foremost get rid of the past history rule.  It's outdated and unfair to the teams with a better seed.

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Next week, the #1 unbeaten team in the state has to go on the road to play their state semifinal game because of "past history".

For those unfamiliar with the rule, here's how it reads in the NMAA rulebook:

For Classes 3A, 4A, 5A, 6A and 8-man, past history is defined by the NMAA as any semifinal or final round playoff game between the 2 schools dating back to 1953.  Example: If Rio Rancho hosted Las Cruces in the state final in 2016 and they met again in 2018 Las Cruces would get to host the game regardless of which school had the better seed. 

Some of those in favor of the past history rule believe it helps balance the power.  What I think has helped balance the power is more schools and programs improving.  More schools have been established and we've seen multiple teams in each class claim state titles over the years.  This rule, I believe, was intially put into place to prevent certain dominant programs from hosting playoff games every year.  My response to that... get better. 

I believe the better seed should host the game regardless of the last time they met.  The better seed has earned the right to home field advantage throughout the postseason.  Why is it the playoff format has that logic for the opening rounds but then decides to change it when they reach the semifinals?

I didn't write this blog just because an Albuquerque school has to travel south this week.  I've been preaching this point for years (you can read previous articles if you dig deep enough into the archives).  As a matter of fact, I don't think better seeded southern teams should have to travel north.

Just last year in class 5A, #1 Artesia had to come to Albuquerque to play #2 St. Pius X in the state final.  The Sartans beat the Bulldogs 34-24.  Also last year, #1 Robertson had to go on the road to face #2 Portales in the 4A state championship game.  Portales won the title at home 43-14.  And it's not limited to the larger classifications.  In 2014, #1 Logan played AT #3 Melrose for the 8-man championship.  Melrose took the title that year 76-37.  That same year, #1 Clayton had to travel to #6 Estancia and lost the 3A title 14-6.

Again, those are only a few examples of better seeds having to go on the road and eventually lost.  More of those upsets will have to happen in order for schools to vote on a change.  Let me save you the trouble and suggest changing it now.  The better seed has earned the right to host throughout.  Ditch the past history.  It's past time.

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J.P. Murrieta

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