Leading off today:
I'm pretty sure I'm in the minority when I say this, but Tim Vivian did the right thing Friday by making a mockery of the Section 2 boys lacrosse seeding process.
The Albany CBA coach tried his best to manipulate the seedings to highlight a ridiculous flaw in the system. I'm not wild about the fact that his action could have affected the integrity of next week's tournament -- and it looks as though he received the proverbial "stern talking to" from his bosses -- but I think he may have taken a real step toward insuring the credibility of the process for future tournaments.
And God knows that Section 2 -- the land where third-place teams in the two large-school basketball leagues are treated as tournament equals regardless of the disparity in records or talent, and where football ties for playoff berths are broken on the basis of head-to-head results even when teams don't actually play each other -- could use some help in that department.
Here's the background, according to reports Friday from The Saratogian and The Times Union:
Suburban Council lacrosse chairman Dave Rounds explained to The Saratogian that teams are nominated for each seed for the playoffs on four criteria that are equally considered: league standings, a poll from all the coaches, rankings from LaxPower.com and head-to-head meetings.
Forget for a moment that league standings, computer rankings and head-to-head meetings have the potential to be highly redundant. Instead, concentrate on the fourth element -- the coaches poll.
Why should the opinion of coaches matter at the tail end of a 16-game regular season? Vivian saw the absurdity of injecting opinion into a process for which sufficient factual data already exists, so he filled out his rankings in a way that could generously be called "goofy."
Vivian ranked Niskayuna sixth and Shenendehowa 12th (dead last) in his Class A evaluation even though Niskayuna is undoubtedly the best large school in Section 2 and Shenendehowa is quite possibly second-best -- and certainly no lower than fifth.
Vivian was blatant, but not a hypocrite -- there could be no mistake that he was trying to manipulate the process. Not surprisingly, tempers apparently flared during and after the meeting but at least Vivian's motive was transparent.
"I wanted to point out the absurdity of using a subjective poll," Vivian told The Saratogian.
By going nuclear (and also voting CBA No. 1), Vivian assured his 11-5 club would be seeded second, a notch ahead of Shen (also 11-5). Lest you think the man is completely off the rails, note that the Brothers beat Shen 14-13 in overtime last month. And don't underestimate the significance to a coach of having nine Suburban Conference schools in Class A compared to just three from the Big 10 when it comes time to vote.
Had Vivian not turned the coaches balloting into a farce, Shen and CBA would have each had the edge in two criteria and the matter would have gone to a vote of four league chairmen, adding a second layer of potentially subjective behavior to the process.
So here's my question: Can every coach who's pissed at Vivian look their colleague in the eye and say they've never considered trying to manipulate the seedings in the past by lowballing their team or submarining someone else?
You know, when standings, head-to-head results and computer ratings are all readily available by the time you