When it comes to quirky playoff qualifications, basketball has its
own separate rule in determining which teams make it to the
postseason. And the Southern Section has instituted the rule for a
specific reason -- to make money.
It used to be if a team was among the top three finishers in
league -- or top four in larger leagues -- it would receive an
automatic berth into the playoffs. If a squad didn't do well in
league -- playing in a league with a lot of talented teams -- or had
a good overall record, it could petition the Southern Section for an
However, at-large berths were never set in stone, and there was no
guarantee a team would be invited to take part in the postseason if
it didn't place among the top three in league.
But all that has changed.
Now, to make the playoffs, all a team has to do is accumulate 11
wins. No matter how a team does in league, if it gets the 11
victories, its in -- no questions asked. Even if a squad has a losing
record, it is welcomed with open arms into the postseason.
Unfortunately, all the rule does is water down the playoffs.
"Basketball is kind of a different animal compared to other sports
when it comes to the playoffs," said Sharon Hodge, Southern Section
secretary. "A team with 11 wins is in the playoffs."
The only problem with this peculiar rule is it is exclusive to
basketball. No other Southern Section sport is afforded such a
special "helping hand" into the playoffs.
It's not fair that sports other than basketball don't have
specific win plateaus to qualify teams for the playoffs.
A good example of this happed last season with the Burroughs High
baseball team. Despite finishing with a 15-10-1 record -- and fourth
in a tough Foothill League -- the Indians' wild-card bid was turned
The reason why basketball is treated differently comes down to one
thing -- money.
It's a simple scenario: Scheduling more playoff basketball games
means more admission tickets will be sold and more money will go into
Along with football, basketball is the Southern Section's big
money sport when it comes to playoff revenue. The organization just
doesn't make money on water polo, tennis, soccer or golf playoff