In the midst of the coldest weather that the state of Texas has seen in over 30 years, the last thing anyone was thinking about was sports. All events the week of Feb. 15 were canceled to ensure the safety of all athletes as cities across the state had issues regarding power, water, and safe road conditions.
These cancellations ranged from almost every sport playing this semester for Sam Houston State University in this jam-packed spring semester, including postponing the annual softball Bearkat Classic tournament Sam Houston host every year.
In any previous season, these games would be rescheduled at a later date.
However, with COVID-19 protocols, the Southland Conference is implementing a new point system to make up for canceled games this season. This is different than the usual win percentage rankings that have been used in all past seasons.
In the past, if a game were to be canceled, the SLC would attempt to reschedule it to stay consistent with all teams playing the same amount of games. These crammed spring seasons, however, have made this difficult.
Since the SLC is going with steady COVID-19 protocols, it is difficult to reschedule games when teams can be out for 10-14 days due to contact tracing and positive tests.
The new point system is similar to how soccer does their point system. If a team wins, they will receive three points, a tie is one point, and a loss is zero points. In the event that a game is canceled and cannot be made up, the teams affected will be rewarded a point each and will not reschedule the game.
This new point system is an attempt to not only try and stay on schedule with the start and end date of the season but is also a way to not compress too many games close to each other and tire out athletes.
This new point system is showing to shake up things in the conference as the first sport to adopt this system, basketball, is coming to an end within the next two weeks.
For starters, each team must play at least eight conference games to qualify for the tournament. Once a team has reached the minimum requirement, they are eligible to compete in the tournament, pending their standings and finishing within the top eight teams like the conference has always done.
The reason this point system has such an impact is for example, with the Feb. 22 rankings of women’s basketball, Nicholls University, which has a record of 7-6, is higher in the rankings than McNeese University, which has a higher win percentage at 6-3. Since Nicholls has 21-win points and McNeese has 20 total points, 18-win points, and two cancelation/tie points, McNeese is ranked below Nicholls.
This new point system will be in place for the rest of this season for all-conference play in every sport and shake up each standing at the end of the season compared to previous years.