Debates over mask mandates continue as COVID-19 numbers rise

By Michael Kinney

Pam Carter was not happy. When the Lawton resident got up to speak in front of the City Council on Tuesday, she wanted to let the group know exactly what she thought of them and it wasn’t pleasant.

 “We voted for you to protect our God-given constitutional rights, not our health. You are not responsible for my health,” Carter said. “I am responsible for my health. You have no right to infringe upon my constitutional right over a virus with a 99% cure rate.”

Continue reading “Debates over mask mandates continue as COVID-19 numbers rise”

For one year only, everyone gets a shot at the title in Oklahoma

By Michael Kinney

Every time you think 2020 can’t get any stranger, it somehow finds a way to up the ante.

The latest developments saw the OSSAA (Oklahoma Secondary Schools Athletic Association) making unprecedented moves concerning prep football. They include letting every single team in Oklahoma compete in the 2020 postseason.

“This is a once in a lifetime scenario, I hope,” OSSAA associate Director Mike Whaley said. “We’re planning on doing this one time and one time only.”

Whaley says the decision to open the 2020 playoff to every team in every classification was brought about due to the loss of district games to COVID-19.

“The cancellations of multiple games during the regular season has caused a concern regarding the accuracy of seedings of each district entering the playoff series,” Whaley said. “Schools needing to make up multiple canceled contests and the concerns from member schools regarding playing multiple contests in a relatively short time frame was also a factor to considering modifying the current OSSAA plan.”

The OSSAA says that adding a play-in round for all schools that want to be in the postseason will address possible inaccuracies in the seeding process.

Brackets for each classification will be expanded to include all teams. It will have a similar look to college basketball’s March Madness.

The second week of November has been designated as the start of the playoffs with the play-in round. Games will be scheduled on a Friday or Saturday based on the availability of officiating crews. Teams may mutually agree to move the game to Thursday.

The play-in round is designated as Round 1. The higher district seed shall host in Round 1. The district champion shall host in Round 2 if the district champion advances. Determining host teams in all classes for Round 3 shall follow the criteria listed in board policy.

Neutral sites will be used for semifinal rounds and championship games for all 11-man classifications will take play at the University of Central Oklahoma.

According to Whaley, schools may opt-out of the play-in round. If that takes place, their opponent will get an automatic bye into the next round.

Also, if a team wins a postseason game, but then is unable to play in the next round due to CIVID-19 issues, they will be eliminated from the postseason. If that happens, the team that was they just beat will be able to take their place and advance.

If that school chooses not to play, then their opponent will get a bye to the next round.

For the schools that choose not to be in the playoffs, the OSSAA is allowing them to continue their season as well.

“If a school has lost two games to COVID, and the school is not wanting to participate in the playoffs and can find other schools that would like to play a game, they can certainly play that game at their discretion up until the time of their state championship game in their classification,” Whaley said. “Even of those teams were to participate in the playoffs and were eliminated, if they wanted to make up those non-district games or schedule another game, they would be able to do so.”

The OSSAA is asking football coaches to rank the teams in their district starting Oct 23. This includes districts that have not had any cancelations thus far.

The district will then decide whether to use the rankings as the determination on playoff seedings or to use the normal system that has been in place.

Whaley says he understands the hesitancy in allowing football coaches to rank their friends and colleagues. But it’s something that is done in other sports and the only move they could make at this point.

“One of the issues that all of our coaches have in all of our sports has to do with the integrity of the rankings,” Whaley said. “I can tell you that has been a concern of our staff, it’s been a concern of the coaches association since we’ve been doing rankings. We have traditionally not used rankings in football playoff scenarios. Our concern here was that we would end up with districts that were missing games and the only way to get an overall feel for that district was to ask the coaches to rank them. Could manipulation by coaches? I guess it could. But as we say here in the office, the poll is only as good as the pollsters.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Provider

Okla. University shifting fully to online classes as holidays approach

By Michael Kinney

The University of Oklahoma has decided to cut its school year short. Well, at least the parts that have do with on-campus education.

OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. sent an email to parents and students on Oct. 6 informing them that all in-person classes will end in November as a precautionary measure against the spread of COVID-19.

Continue reading “Okla. University shifting fully to online classes as holidays approach”

Pandemic brings new challenges for men’s tailors

By Michael Kinney

Established in 1954, Edward’s has withstood recessions, downturns in the economy and fashion trends such as leisure suits to become known as one of the premier shops for men’s suits across southwest Oklahoma.

However, 2020 has brought something different to Edward’s doorsteps. A global pandemic that has not only altered how business is done, but could change business going forward.

Continue reading “Pandemic brings new challenges for men’s tailors”

Sooners struggle again in loss to Cyclones

By Michael Kinney

Every Oklahoma player and fan knew the 2020 season was going to be unlike any other in the history of the program. Unfortunately, for coach Lincoln Riley and his crew, it’s not good history.

The Sooners took their first road trip of the season Saturday when they headed North to Iowa State. And for the second week in a row, OU came up short in the most crucial moments as they dropped a 37-30 heart-breaker to the Cyclones In Ames.

Continue reading “Sooners struggle again in loss to Cyclones”

Fans not following COVID policy forces changes from Oklahoma

By Michael Kinney

Before the first game was even played, Sondra Callaway had her reservations. Even though the Lawton native has been a season ticket holder to Oklahoma football game for nearly a decade, she had planned to sit out the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Because of Covid-19, my husband and I thought it was best to not attend,” Callaway said. “I don’t think there are enough precautions to keep everyone safe.”

Continue reading “Fans not following COVID policy forces changes from Oklahoma”

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