A good friend asked me to blog on the final match of the Western Playoffs down in Austin, TX this past weekend between the Austin Valkyries and the KC Jazz.
By all accounts I have heard/read, the KC Jazz – who are site hosts for half of Sweet 16s this month along with a site in South Carolina – wanted to forfeit the match to ensure they received the No. 2 Seed in the West (and could then stay home to play/host for Sweet 16s) instead of the No. 1 seed which would send them to South Carolina.
After not being allowed to forfeit, the KC Jazz opted to play poorly, “didn’t tackle and faked injury to get out of playing the second half”. I also saw that the game was called at the 50-minute mark, instead of the full 80 minutes. The Valkyries were awarded the win and the No. 1 seed.
My friend, in addition to other players, believes the Jazz “made a mockery” of the final.
Looking at this from the KC Jazz’s viewpoint, I can clearly see why you would want to stay home if you are supposed to host a large event, especially since the majority of your team would be in a different state, resources would be stretched to the max, etc.
So if this was the case and the Jazz realized they might be seeded to the South Carolina pools, was this addressed before the Western Playoffs? Couldn’t they have received a lower-seed to KC and still played the games, which would just move other seeded teams up a notch?
And if the Jazz decided to want to lose, why not pull your top starters? Play your b-side, but at least play the game as it should be done and respect your opponent as much as possible.
I would also be pissed if I was playing for the Valkyries, or any other team who finished lower than the Jazz at the Playoffs, like Denver HOGs, etc.
This is a tricky situation. From one side, I think the KC Jazz should be face some type of sanctions for this from the West Union. But at the same time, USA Rugby should’ve stepped in to help out a host team from having to travel to a different site and found a situation that benefits all teams involved.
Thoughts? Opinions? Did you see this match? Any KC Jazz players out there want to enlighten us?
In the Comments: Amy brings up a good point. Why, if we have just one division of 16 teams, are we at two different sites? Especially since South Carolina did handle all three men’s divisions at once? Or just finding a site with access to two or more fields?