The Hannibal boys’ basketball team won the Pittsfield Turkey Tournament last season. But when play tipped off at the 6th Annual Pittsfield Turkey Tourney this past Monday, Nov. 19, the Pirates almost didn’t get a chance to defend their title.
The issue at hand is that the Pittsfield Turkey Tournament featured too many games. The Missouri State High School Activities Association limits pool play tournaments to three games and bracketed tourneys to four games. Pittsfield is a pool play tourney and the Pirates were set to play five games, two over the limit.
“We found out on Monday afternoon,” Hannibal head coach Matt Pugh said. “At that point it was up in the air as far as what we were going to be able to do as far as what MSHSAA was going to allow us to do.”
Hannibal is not the only MSHSAA school to be dealing with this issue. Kirksville was slated to participate in too many games at the Quincy Notre Dame tourney and Knox County had similar issues with the Thanksgiving tournament it is attending. Because of the rules, Kirksville chose to reduce its number of games at the QND tournament in order to remain eligible for MSHSAA post season play.
“I know Tuesday morning they had an executive meeting to discuss the issues that were involving us, Kirksville, and Knox County,” Pugh said. “We had to wait to hear back the results from that meeting.”
In the end, Hannibal got a waiver from the MSHSAA for this season only. The waiver allows the Pirates to play four games in the tournament while retaining its postseason eligibility at the same time. Pittsfield also helped by cutting one game from the round-robin play, thus dropping the amount of games from five to four.
“In that meeting they (MSHSAA) said that the rules state that you cannot play anymore than three games in a round-robin tournament,” Pugh said. “But they gave us a waiver to play the four games.”
The waiver allows Hannibal to play the fourth game without sacrificing its postseason eligibility.
“This is a one year waiver,” Pugh said. “It is a one-time only thing.”
Before the waiver was granted, Hannibal was given two possible options by Pittsfield. The first was the Pirates could withdraw from the tournament, but still would have been liable monetarily for referees fees and other costs. The second option was that Hannibal could enter its junior varsity team for one game and the JV team would have played tourney host Pittsfield.
During the first five years of play, the tournament featured four round-robin games. Hannibal has been playing in the tournament since the second year and has been playing four games every year.
According to Pugh, there will be no worries about any possible forfeitures because the Pirates played four games instead of three games during the past four tournaments.
When Pittsfield added a new team to the tournament this year, a fifth game was added to the schedule. That made it a five-game round-robin tournament. But, according to Missouri State High School Activities Association (MSHSAA) bylaw 3.18.1 d and 3.18.2 b, teams are not allowed to play more than three games in a round-robin tournament. If the tournament is bracketed, then the team may play a maximum of four games.
Whether or not Hannibal is invited back to the tournament next year remains to be seen.
“Next year we will have to figure something out,” Pugh said. “That would be a real possibility. That is something that we are looking into and looking at the possibilities of how that is going to affect our schedule for next year and there on out. “