BLOG — An appeal submitted by Northwest Mississippi Community College to the MACJC regarding the Rangers replacing NECC as the No. 2 seed in the upcoming state football playoffs was denied by commissioner Jim Southward. The appeal was submitted on Friday to Southward stating that based on tie-breaker rules outlined in the MACJC handbook, the Rangers should be the No. 2 team instead of Northeast. Both teams finished with identical 6-3 overall records and the same 4-2 mark in division play. NECC did defeat the Rangers in Senatobia earlier in the season.
Northwest officials thought the Rangers would be in the playoffs based on the four-step process in the current handbook. Southward overruled the steps Monday night, basing his decision on the head-to-head meeting that Northeast won 34-28 on Sept. 19. According to a source who was involved in the appeal, Southward relied on previous conversations and an understanding that head football coaches in November and December of 2010 wanted head-to-head competition to prevail in the determination of the winner and runner-up. Southward then informed NWCC that the handbook didn’t reflect the expressed desires of the head coaches.
“Northwest Mississippi Community College officials are deeply disappointed by this decision, but accept the ruling of the athletic council,” Dan Smith, the chief of staff and vice president of student affairs at NWCC said in statement released by the school. “We wish the fourth teams in the playoffs the best of success.”
Chuck Strong, the vice president of educational affairs at NWCC, also issued a statement after being involved with the appeal process.
“I truly hate it for our players. Going into the Itawamba game, we were under the impression that if we won and Northeast lost, we would be the No. 2 seed out of the north,” he said. “They played their best game of the season only to discover that the game didn’t count as far as the playoffs were concerned.” (November 2, 2011)