Legend Bobby Plump Wants Return To Single-Class Basketball

Milan High School Legend Bobby Plump say single-class basketball adds more excitement to the sport.

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Photo: Adam Julian (Flickr)

Bedford North Lawrence High School takes on Castle.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association is holding town hall meetings this spring to hear opinions on a possible return to single class basketball, and one legendary player from the era of single class basketball says divisional play doesn’t provide the kind of excitement the old system did.

While some Hoosiers favor the current class system in Indiana high school basketball where small and large schools play in different divisions, others are hoping the state will return to its old system.

Bobby Plump was a member of the Milan High School team that won the state championship in 1954. The team was the inspiration for the movie Hoosiers. Speaking Friday on WFIU’s Noon Edition, Plump says basketball fans flocked to the old single class tournaments in hopes of seeing an upset.

“Every 11 years in the single class tournament, a small school made it as far as the semi-finals, and my contention is that the whole state knew about that,” Plump says. “It created excitement just as Butler created excitement going to the Final Four.”

Some coaches and athletic directors say high school basketball teams should not play in the same class. Others have proposed a hybrid of the new and old systems. Retired Herald-Times sports writer Rex Kirts says some sort of compromise might be necessary.

“I would still want to stay with 4 classes at least to sectional level. I do like that. This gives everyone a chance to win that sectional,” he says. “You’re not going to have Speedway going against Ben Davis in the sectional. After that could you combine them? Maybe. I don’t know.”

Kirts and Plump both say most teams and coaches are more interested in winning the sectional competitions that come before state championship tournaments.

Four more IHSAA are planned this month, including town halls at Plymouth, Marion, Connersville, and Gary Roosevelt High Schools.

Julie Rawe

Julie is Assistant Producer of Noon Edition. In addition to reporting for WFIU, she also works as an intern for NPR's State of the Re:Union. She is a graduate of Indiana University where she studied French, anthropology, and African studies.

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