Ten-goal mercy rule added for soccer in 2013-14

With a new school year comes a new season of high school athletics, and along with it, a new set of rule and policy changes. The OSAA has introduced a few new rules that will be effective for 2013-14 year.

Sandy athletic director Wade Lockett said Sandy High will take the changes in stride.

“We have no control over these adjustments and, really, they will not affect our approach or process at all,” Lockett said. “We will keep the focus of our athletic programs on elements that we have control over. We will spend our time and energy on efforts to teach character, integrity, discipline, the value of hard work, citizenship and teamwork, using athletics and activities as the framework for these lessons.”

Three of the major changes Sandy, and other schools in the state, must face revolve around the state playoffs.

The ranking system used to determine tournament teams has been altered and is now more simplified. Previously, the ranking formula was a combination of winning percentage, opponents’ winning percentage and opponents’ opponents’ winning percentage. The new formula is now strictly based on a team’s winning percentage and their opponents’ winning percentage.

Those rankings will dictate what teams make the playoffs, but they will now also determine home field in all rounds of the state tournament. Prior to this year, a rule stated that playoff teams had to have an equal number of home games. That created scenarios in which highly-ranked teams had to play on the road in semifinal games against teams ranked much lower. That technically has been eliminated, so the higher-ranked team will always have the home-field advantage.

In a drastic change from what has been done in the past, the OSAA has elected to do away with consolation games in the basketball and volleyball tournaments.

In conjunction with the soccer season opening for the boys and girls this week, the OSAA has implemented a mercy rule of 10 goals for all contests.

“With the exception of the mercy rule in soccer, which is consistent with mercy rules already in effect in other sports, the changes the OSAA are making are being done to address financial or fan issues,” Lockett said.

Lockett said the new rules will have no impact on how many games teams at Sandy win. He is convinced the Pioneers’ successes will be dictated by what they do and not by what a few policies say.

“At the end of the day, if we are going to win a state championship in anything, we are still going to have to beat the best teams in the state. If we are even in that mix, we will feel the pride of great achievement,” Lockett said. “However, we will measure our success on how well we are able to teach the core lessons that will stay with our students long after the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat have settled.”

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