Due to a massive oversight by YRAA, #2 seed St. Augustine (Markham, ON) was awarded the ‘AAA’ OFSAA berth to Windsor following their 67-18 quarterfinal win over Brother Andre, only to be stripped of the opportunity less than a week later.
The team was confirmed as the YRAA representative by the league office as they were only one of two ‘AAA’ schools who qualified for the playoffs at Tier 1 (#3 Sacred Heart being the second rep). Sacred Heart was upset in the quarterfinals, thus automatically qualifying St. A’s based on their advancement to the following round. AGAIN, something that was confirmed by YRAA.
St. A’s had already registered for ‘AAA’ OFSAA and of course, the girls were absolutely thrilled about finally reaching their hard earned goal. Perhaps it was with this understanding of already accomplishing their season goal (OFSAA berth), that they played without a sense of urgency in their semifinal upset to #6 St. Maximillian. A team who they had beaten twice on the year. Not to say St. Max is undeserving of their win; they executed their game plan and most certainly deserved it. Watching from the crowd, something just seemed noticeably different with the girls on St. A’s as their focus was not where it needed to be. It’s understandable though, this is a team that had already secured their berth to OFSAA…or so they thought.
It has now come through the wire that YRAA, as late as Wednesday night, had reached out to St.A’s administration to notify them of a “mixup in the office” and that ‘AAAA’ Newmarket had actually appealed back in May of last year, to be given ‘AAA’ status. This change and appeal process was never made known until Wednesday night and now because of it, YRAA is saying that St. Augustine is no longer headed to OFSAA.
In YRAA (and other OFSAA regulated leagues), schools that are 10% or less above the enrollment cutoff have the ability to appeal for a lower classification provided it is population based – not competitive.
Regardless, how is it possible to screw up this bad that within the YRAA’s own constitutional documents, they still list Newmarket as ‘AAAA’ (http://bit.ly/1yCnBpT – Appendix F) and failed to notify other teams about this decision? Had they done so, other teams could have declared their intent for a higher classification or adjusted their strategy (ie. St. A's treating the semifinals for what it was, a berth to OFSAA)
More importantly, how was Newmarket granted their appeal to begin with? It’s not as if their status as a ‘AAAA’ school has hindered them in any way… tonight they are going for their 3rd straight York Region Championship and boast a group of girls that play for the 2013/14 OBA Gold Medalist (Midget D1) YNBA Avengers and an AAU team ranked 7th nationally. On what grounds could they have possibly been granted their appeal? Even if based on the population issue, what exactly has this accomplished?
To make matters worse, I along with several others close to the St. A’s staff/parents, heard parents from Newmarket say that the team was thinking of going ‘AAA’ because the coaching staff was upset at their ‘AAAA’ OFSAA seed and were knocked around in last year’s event. Upon hearing this, YRAA was again contacted by the coaches at St. Augustine and asked to clarify that they were in fact the AAA representative and specifically mentioned the talk from the Newmarket supporters. The response remained the same, St. A’s was the qualifier.
Normally, I wouldn’t bring up these findings on a platform like this but I have been a follower of YRAA Basketball since back in my playing days and am a massive fan of the St. A’s coaching staff and players. I know their head coach personally and he is one of the very best coaches in the high school game (backed up by multiple TDCAA championships, OFSAA medals, etc. from his time at MT) That being said, don’t take this post as just my bias opinion. I am not a parent of any girl on that team, nor do I have any real tie to that school. In fact, if you look at my past comments on this site, I have actually come to the defense of Newmarket on more than one occasion but I have never seen such incompetence in all my life following the high school game.
YRAA has been an absolute joke dating back to my time as a player in the early-2000s but over the years, the league has morphed into one big colossal failure. This however takes the cake and as an outsider, it is reprehensible what has transpired in the past 36 hours. One thing is for sure, I do not envy the coaching staff at St. A’s having to inform their players that YRAA is now taking away their berth to OFSAA.
Shame on you, YRAA.