How are the Big 33 and East/West teams chosen?

Tagged under: All-Stars, News

Billy Splain | February 28, 2022


The Selection Process:

Every year the inevitable happens when the rosters for the Big 33 and East/West rosters are announced. There are always questions like “how is this person not on that team?”  “Who chooses these teams?” “Why am I not on this team?”  Well, we have the answers. The secretary of the  PSFCA (Pennsylvania Scholastic Football Coaches Association), Homer Delattre, has been kind enough to explain the process:

“It used to be that the PSFCA selected the team and coaches and the Big 33 association ran the show. After former Executive Director Dave Trimbur passed away, we started running the game full time.”

Important to note, the players for these teams are not “chosen” by the coaches of those teams. They are assigned players via a ranking system carried out by the selection committees.

The selections for all teams are the same. The coaches in the PSFCA start nominating mid-season. The coach has to be a member to be able to nominate and have a player in the game. Those nominations are then compiled into a database.

“We have about 47 guys who make up the board selection committee. There are 2-3 members per district as well as some past presidents and board members. The group is broken into selection committees. Any given year there is about 10 groups, for example running backs, linebackers, linemen, etc…and those positions are broken down such as inside linebacker, outside linebacker or offensive guard, offensive tackle, etc. and each have their own committee. Each committee is broken down and has even numbers of coaches from the East and West to ensure that one area of the state isn’t controlling a certain position.”

Some time in December those committees are given the nominations of their respective positions in a file. For example, the wide receiver group this year had 63 players nominated. There were 6 members in this committee. Each member of that committee ranked those players from 1-63. Each member did that work at home, then submitted their rankings. Those rankings were then compiled and averaged out. IMPORTANT: The coaches of the Big 33 and East West games are NOT part of this process.

Then, when the selection meeting takes place in January the coaching staff will give the breakdown of their roster depending on what positions they want to focus on. For instance, he might want 10 linemen. Three guards, three tackles, a center and three guys that can play both ways, offense and defense.  He might want 3 quarterbacks and 2 running backs. Next year the coach might want to have 2 quarterbacks and 3 running backs. Sometimes they’ll want an athlete or two that can play offense and defense.  It all depends on what type of system the coach wants to run.

The position committees then head off to fine tune those rankings together in their groups. One person may have someone ranked 4th and 4 others might have him ranked averaged around 11th. They discuss and complete the final rankings of each groups prospective position groups.

The selection then happens going through the list in order of rankings. If the #1 guy doesn’t want to play or can’t, they go right to the next player in order of ranking at each position. Basically, they go right down the position rankings and pick off the top.

One difference you will notice in the Big 33 game this year is there are 38 players, that’s a safety net for injuries and other situations that may arise between now and the game.

There are always players that can’t play for different reasons. Some have to report early to college, some have injuries, and even some college teams and leagues such as the Patriot league who have some teams that discourage their recruits to play in all-star games.

Once the Big 33 rosters are chosen, they go through the same process, starting at the top of the available ranked players based on the personnel the coaches wanted for the East West Game.

One of the most difficult things they do now begins. Every player has to be contacted and they in turn have to figure out if they can play. The East West rosters are even more complicated because some players are involved in spring sports and will not be able to make the practices or the game, but won’t know that depending on if they are still playing up until the last day. If someone on the roster has to pull out, the next ranked player is chosen.

Several years ago there were 53 kids replaced in the East West game from the initial rosters to the game week rosters and even some replaced during the week of practice. Some times the list gets exhausted at certain positions. The problem there is not enough players are being nominated from year to year.

Here’s where we are calling on coaches to nominate their players. It isn’t uncommon for players to ask why they aren’t on those teams. The bottom line is this, if a player isn’t on the roster it’s one of two reasons, either their number didn’t come up in the process or their coach didn’t nominate them.

We would like to take this moment to congratulate all players that were selected for the teams. There is no greater honor than to strap up for one more high school game and play with your peers.

To become a member of the PSFCA the cost is $50 with no clinic attendance, $125 for one coach to attend the clinic and be a member and for 6 coaches it’s $500.

Follow PA Football News on Twitter @PaFootballNews


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