Behind the Mic: EPC – Life Isn’t Fair

This past Saturday, The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference ended its first regular season of basketball.  And to the delight of the fans, the final weekend was loaded with games that had significant meaning for more than half the teams involved.  Four teams were fighting for two playoff spots and others were battling for home court advantage by trying to upgrade their seeding in the first EPC tournament which will determine the overall champion.  That tournament will be played this week.  After Saturday’s win by Allen, the tournament pairings are set: Parkland-Whitehall; Liberty-Easton; Stroudsburg-Central Catholic; and Allen-Emmaus.  Parkland is the overwhelming favorite to win the title on Friday night, but there are no guarantees.  Every sports fan knows the cliché, “That’s why they play the games”.

However, one has to ask if these final pairings were “fair”.  Is the new league set up in the best possible way?  After this first year, is there room for improvement?  And the answers are an emphatic “YES!”

There are 18 teams in the EPC, broken down into three divisions of six teams.  Each team plays their division opponents twice and three selected teams from the other two divisions – 16 conference games in all.  This system creates a schedule where each team does not play six teams in the conference.  This allows some teams to play a much more difficult schedule than others if that team happens to get six of the stronger teams and another gets some of the weaker teams.  This was especially true for the Lehigh Valley teams that had the much weaker bottom-echelon Mountain Division teams on their schedule while others did not.

In addition, the Skyline Division was so much stronger top-to-bottom than the other two divisions that having to play those teams twice was certainly detrimental to some.  It also means that some historically great rivalry games were lost – Allen did not play Central Catholic, their cross-town rival; Nazareth and Easton did not meet; Liberty and Parkland did not play.  I think you get my point.

Granted this league is in its infancy and certainly some growing pains were expected.  But there is a quick and fair fix.  Just eliminate the divisions (they really did not serve much of a purpose anyway) and have each of the 18 teams play each other once.  Everybody plays everybody!  That creates 17 conference games, allows five independent match-ups, and creates a regular season champion.  The only drawback I see is that a team has a home-court advantage for that one game, but that will be reversed the following year.  Choose your top eight based on the standings that were created where everyone is being judged equally because each team played the same schedule.

We have all been told by parents, teachers, coaches, and bosses that “Life isn’t fair”, but if there is a way to make it fair, then do so!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

  1. I worked the Lafayette-Bucknell game this past Wednesday night with John Feinstein, noted author of many top-selling non-fiction sports books (A Season on the Brink, The Last Amateurs, etc.) and young-adult fictional works. He also writes for the Washington Post and is a guest commentator on the Golf Channel.  He told me his next book will be about three of college basketball’s most iconic coaches – Jim Valvano, Dean Smith, and Mike Kryzewski.  John was good friends with all of them.  Dean Smith died this past Sunday at the age of 83 from complications caused by dementia.
  2. Tiger Woods withdrew from the Farmers Insurance tournament this past week because of a bad back. Despite coming off his worst year on the tour in 2014, he still earned $55 million from golf and endorsements, so in case you think his future income is threatened, ponder this.  Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus made $40 million and $22 million respectively last year.  I don’t think “washed up” works here.
  3. The New England Patriots players received $97,000 for their win in the Super Bowl, the Seahawk players got $49,000. That may seem like a nice paycheck for one game, but considering that the players on the winning team in the Pro Bowl got $55,000 each and Tom Brady got $1 million a game this year, not so much!
  4. Let the playoffs begin! Crowning EPC and Colonial League champions in boys and girls basketball and District champions in basketball and wrestling are all on tap in the coming weeks. Please join us for the best in high school basketball.
  5. I actually had a rare Saturday off this past week because Lafayette’s game with Loyola was picked up by CBS Sports Network and broadcast on Monday, so my wife and I, daughter and son-in-law went into New York to see a show and watch my granddaughter perform at The Pit, an ”improv” theater. The show was “Beautiful- The Carole King Musical” and my granddaughter is Abigail Ludrof.  Both were great!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gary Laubach About Gary Laubach

Gary began his broadcasting career with Twin County in 1972. Twin County eventually became C-TEC and then RCN. Gary holds the dual role of Director of Media Services and Sports Director/Broadcaster. He currently broadcasts about 140 sports and entertainment broadcasts a year, and oversees the scheduling of all sporting events for RCN.

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