The back and forth arguments regarding seeding for the SETHC playoffs resulted in the unfortunate dismissal of the ATH from the SETHC. The questions regarding seeding were raised by ATH Coach, Chris “Cap” Cappelmann and centered around Benedict College receiving the number one seed despite having won fewer games in the conference. For those unfamiliar with traditional Handball (or Euro format) standings, the ranking of teams is done strictly by the points awarded for wins and ties. Winning percentage is not used, so by Cap’s logic (and traditional Handball circles), ATH with an 8-2 record should have received the #1 seed over Benedict’s 7-1 record.
For whatever reason, however, the SETHC and its commissioner, Andrew Washington chose to use the winning percentage method and awarded Benedict the top seed. This decision and example scenarios concerning seeding was then sent out via email in January to the SETHC. The time for complaining (justified complaining, in my opinion) would have been shortly after that email and prior to the matches played in February. Waiting until after those matches and shortly before the play-offs is simply the wrong time to make your case.
The resulting email dialogue which grew increasingly personal led to the commissioner’s decision to remove ATH from the league. Cap, in my opinion, had a valid point, but made the point at the wrong time and in frustration, also crossed the line in his dialogue with Andrew. And regardless of how much you feel your team has been wronged, it’s important to keep perspective on just how important that seeding was in relation to the opportunity to have competition.
Andrew, in my opinion, could have been a little bit less dismissive in responding to some of the email traffic. I also think that if the earlier email containing the scenarios was resent that might have resolved the issue earlier. And finally, perhaps the punishment should have been simply on the coach, instead of the entire team. (e.g. suspension for the first day of the tournament)
But enough! I think everyone should move on from this and learn from it. Having two good teams in the same town is quite a luxury to have. I’m sure clubs like Utah, Cleveland and other locales are scratching their heads. Some of the commentary I’ve seen also suggests that ATH and Atlanta Metro need to better share the workload logistics for making a league work. That sounds like a good plan. Let’s also hope that next season the league adopts 100% clear parameters at the start of the season and that these rivalries are settled on the court, instead of the court of public opinion. But maybe this will be settled on the court sooner than that. Hmmm, I wonder who’s setting the brackets for the USOC Championship next month.