While COVID has not wreaked nearly the type of havoc on the high school football schedule in 2021 as it did last year, it still has the potential to make things messy when it comes to playoff qualification.
And for some teams, it could downright keep them out of the playoffs.
That said, the NJSIAA is in the process of devising a plan on how to handle those situations, according to sources.
One key issue is how to handle teams that only manage six games this season for one reason or another. In its 2021 football regulations, the NJSIAA set a seven-game minimum for calculating power points and OSI. But that could affect teams that had no choice in whether they meet the minimum, due to the continuing effect of COVID.
The NJSIAA’s football regulations state that “7 games will be the minimum number of games used when averaging both the Power Points and OSI totals for use in the UPR system. For instance, if your team only plays 6 games, then both the Power Points and OSI totals will be divided by 7 games for UPR purposes.”
That means a team that managed only six games will have a much lower power point average when dividing by seven instead of six.
But it doesn’t just affect the team that had to give up a game because of COVID, but also the team that was cancelled on.
And what about schools that had to cancel due to Ida, which flooded many communities, like Manville, Cranford and others in the Big Central?
Earlier this year, Piscataway had to cancel on Phillipsburg due to damage from Ida, but the Stateliners quickly found a replacement game in St. Joe’s of Montvale.
But last week, South River had to cancel a game last minute with St. Thomas Aquinas and the Trojans had no time to find a replacement.
Then there’s the question of how to deal with multipliers. St. Joseph-Metuchen had to cancel its scheduled game with Sayreville due to COVID. The Falcons are a “multiplier” team in power points. The NJSIAA needs to figure out how to account for that.
The Bombers should get credit for a win, but do they get the normal power points? Or the multiplier points?
All of those questions will need to be settled in the next week or two before we get to the final few weeks of the season.