IHSAA Sticks With Multi-Class Basketball Tourney
(Milan, Ind.) – A repeat of the small Milan High School basketball team’s run to the 1954 state championship won’t happen anytime soon.
The Indiana High School Athletic Association Commissioner Bobby Cox announced Friday that the organization will keep a multi-class tournament format as it has for the past 14 seasons. The decision comes after pressure from state lawmakers and a series of town hall meetings across the state.
During the 2012 Legislative Session, State Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) agreed to drop legislation outlawing a multi-class basketball tournament if Cox agreed to conduct the meetings to gauge the public interest in returning to the single class tournament that helped make the state’s basketball obsession famous. Part of the agreement was for Cox to submit a final report on the IHSAA’s findings to Delph, which was submitted Friday.
“Following the findings of the study, the IHSAA is not formulating any adjustments to the current tournament formats. Any proposals that would alter the current structures and authored by the member schools or the administrative and coaches associations will continue to be accepted and studied by the IHSAA Executive Committee,” Cox said in a statement.
In the report, it was apparent that the likelihood of a person supporting single class or multi-class basketball depended on whether or not they were affiliated with a school sports program.
Straw polls conducted at 11 meetings around the state last Spring – including a May 1 gathering at Milan High School – showed of the 514 votes cast, 68 percent favored single class. Those casting votes at the Milan meeting showed the largest support for single class hoops as 67 of the 71 votes (94 percent) favored the old tournament.
However, the IHSAA also electronically surveyed the state’s high school principals, athletic administrators, boys and girls basketball coaches, as well as boys and girls varsity basketball players at IHSAA member schools. Of 7,236 votes submitted, 5,181 were in favor of multiple class basketball.
Principals (76.82%), athletic directors (79.29%), and student-athletes (72.16) showed strong support for the current four-class tournaments. So did basketball coaches, but to a lesser degree, about 55 percent.
The opinions of the direct participants in the IHSAA’s basketball tournaments carried the most weight.
“The IHSAA is a membership organization. The IHSAA is not 9150 North Meridian Street. The IHSAA is the 408 member schools. The membership will have to determine how open they are to that,” Cox previously told Eagle 99.3.
The IHSAA’s report to Senator Delph can be viewed online at www.ihsaa.org.