Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fairness - what it looks like

Much of #Occupy Wall Street is upset with the unfairness of life - why does the top 1% have all the money? It's not fair that a few have the success.
How does the quest for fairness work out in real life?
Let's look at the Virginia high school football playoffs.
Back in 1985, there were three state football champions. But with the range of size of schools within each division, it didn't seem fair for the smaller schools to compete against the biggest.
Thus, the state divided each group into two divisions. In Group A, a big school and a littler school would be crowned state champions.
It was a four-week process. Each division had four regions, and four teams from each region advanced to the playoffs for their division.
Win two games against your regional foes, and it's off to the semifinals. Then the winner plays someone from the other side of the state.
But that still wasn't completely fair. Regions were different sizes, and poor regions got four teams into the postseason as well as good regions. Last year, Wilson Memorial shared the Southern Valley District title, but because they lost the last game of the season they missed the playoffs.
This year, Wilson dropped to Group A - which decided to go from a 16-team playoff to 32-teams in each division. And instead of regional play, it's eastern division and western division.
So, for the first round, Wilson got to host a game as the sixth-seed. But they played a team from Wise County, over 250 miles away.
How does fairness work out? Wilson Memorial scored 68 points. And that wasn't the most points in the first round.
George Wythe of Wytheville had 73 Friday night.
Sussex Central also scored 68.
Lots of mismatches when there's so many schools making an expanded postseason.
Maybe it's not fair for a deserving team to be left out of the playoffs. But is it fair to have a team get a terrible beating in their last game of the season? Just to say you made the playoffs?

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