Two ways to do this thing right…
What to do with three divisions…I’m sure some of your have read Gerrity’s solutions for a unification series with 3 divisions. In case you didn’t know, both B2 4v4 and co-ed will have three divisions in the upcoming fall season, which presents an interesting dilemma regarding how to run the unification games. Gerrity blogged a possible solution and you can read about it here, but if you only take the time to read one blog on the subject, read mine, because its better and we all know there was never a sixth Backstreet Boy. Nice try, Michael.
Getting back on track, we have three divisions, two leagues, ONE unification champ…in each of the two leagues. Co-ed and B2 4v4 will each have 24-28 teams spread over three divisions and I have not one, but TWO possible solutions. I’ll save my favorite for last.
Solution #1: The Redemption Jamboree:
Divisions will play the usual regular season. I like Gerrity’s 10 game solution, because more is better…but in this case, the playoffs aren’t any shorter, and more games cost more money, so for the sake of my suggestions, we’ll keep it to 9. Typical regular season, and typical division playoffs just like they are now. The playoff champs from the three divisions will automatically advance to the unification semi finals
Where is the 4th team coming from you ask? THIS is where we get the redemption jamboree. The three teams who lost in their division finals will all gather on the same night at the same gym and they will all play each other for a half. Teams will draw straws to determine who sits the first half of basketball. If one team beats each of the other two, they win the Redemption Jamboree and they earn a spot in the unification semifinals. If the three teams all go 1-1, the tiebreak is point differential. The winner of the Redemption Jamboree will then play one of the three division champs, but NOT the champion of their division. The semis and finals then play out the same way they do now.
-It’s a second chance for a team who loses their division championship. Often times teams have missing players for vacations or work conflicts. If you go undefeated and then have an off night in the division finals, this is your chance to get back in it. If you beat two other teams just to get into the semis, then have to knock off two more teams to win a title…I’d say you earned it
-What is this second chance crap? When you lose in the playoffs, that’s it. No more. Champions don’t lose in the playoffs. That’s the only argument needed.
Solution #2: CAC Madness
I think this is my favorite solution, because it is the closest thing to my favorite sporting event in the world…the NCAA tournament. It’s pretty simple to explain. No division playoffs. 9 or 10 game regular season followed by a big Unification tournament, seeded by the selection committee. The committee is made up of the league stat keepers. I’m not really married to the amount of teams that make the tournament as long as it is AT LEAST 16. The three staffers that run the divisions would get together, make cases for teams and seed everybody in a big bracket. It works with 16 teams (no byes…in which case I would advocate a 10 game regular season…any more in the tournament and it would have to be 9), 24 teams (8 byes) or even 28 (4 byes).
-Teams would have to be very flexible playing on other nights. It leaves teams fate up to three people, and it’s possible that one or two of those people haven’t even seen them play. It’s also possible and likely (especially in co-ed) that the stat keepers actually play in one of the other divisions, so politics and favoritism could become an issue. If not every team makes it, somebody is going to feel snubbed.
-Sure there are valid concerns, BUT WHO CARES?? It’s like March Madness!!! IT’S AWESOME BABY!! WE GOT THE HIGH FLYERS AND THE PTPers!!! Seriously though, who wouldn’t want to be in a tourney like this? You get to play teams you wouldn’t normally get to play, and a lot of times, the teams who finish at the bottom of the standings don’t show up for their first round division playoff games anyway. Who cares if they get left out? The only valid con here is scheduling…ESPECIALLY in co-ed where they will have three separate nights.
So there you have it…two solutions for a three division unification series. Every option we come up with will have its drawbacks simply because of the odd number. If nothing else, the drawback to Gerrity’s solution is that Gerrity came up with it. Whatever the case, I can’t wait for another season!!