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IHSAA Considering State Basketball Tournament Changes

The IHSAA will vote on proposed changes to the state basketball tournament Oct. 2.

Free Throw Basketball

Photo: Stan Jastrzebski / WFIU News

It's been nearly two decades since the IHSAA had a single-class basketball tournament.

After a two-year study, changes could be coming to the state’s high school basketball tournaments.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association will vote on a proposal next month to restructure the four-class basketball system.

Under the proposal, the 64 largest schools in the state would make up Class 4A. They’d be placed in 16 four-team sectionals.

And, the games would be played on Saturdays.

“To me, it’s better than having to going to East Central or East Central having to come here on a Tuesday night game that no one comes to and you lose money,” said J.R. Holmes, athletic director and basketball coach at Bloomington South. “Because, the sectional round is the round where the schools get the money back.”

The remaining, smaller schools would be split between classes 3A, 2A and 1A. They would be evenly distributed between 16 sectionals within their classes and continue to play during the current format of Tuesday-Wednesday-Friday-Saturday.

Holmes says he’s still worried about having to travel long distances for the tournament, something coaches tried to change by proposing a three-class system, each with a north and south division. The IHSAA tabled that idea.

While some administrators argue the proposed changes to the tournament structure will make it more fair, Hoosier basketball legend Bobby Plump says basketball doesn’t have as much magic as it did with the single-class system – when underdogs could face off against big shots.

“It’s just the fans have quit being interested like they used to be,” Plump said. “And, I hope, somehow they can arrive at something to get that interest back – both for the fans’ sake and for the student athletes.”

While Plump would like to see the state go back to that system, he thinks it’s highly unlikely. So, he would like the IHSAA to adopt some of the traditions that made high school basketball so successful during that time.

“I think it would be a better tournament both for the student athletes, and for the fans, and for the monetary well being of the schools,” Plump said.

The IHSAA Executive Committee will vote on the proposal Oct. 2. If approved, the changes will go into effect for the 2015-2016 school year.

Barbara Harrington

Barbara Harrington is a reporter for WTIU and WFIU news. Before coming to Bloomington, she worked as a reporter at WNDU in South Bend, where she received several AP awards for her coverage of breaking news and local politics. You can follow her on Twitter @BabsofBtown.

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