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New three-class tourney proposal before state athletic directors
Region Roundball Review

04/15/08 01:01 pm by RRR | Back

Citing state-wide concerns and dissatisfaction with the inconsistencies of the present four-class system, a proposal could be presented by the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association to the IHSAA for a three-class system, balancing out sectional fields and traveling distances, and bringing back the four-team, two-game format at the semi-state level.


Last fall, the IIAAA surveyed state athletic directors about their satisfaction with the current four-class system. According to Ed Gilliland, LaPorte AD and Second Vice President for the IIAAA, this survey was initiated because of consistent concerns over the years by the IIAAA membership about the present system, which was put in place ten years ago.


"We have continuously heard complaints about the inconsistency in sectional sites (eight-, seven-, six- and five-team sectionals), and the advantages bye teams have in seven-, six- and five-team sectionals. Transportation costs for sectional travel distances and tournament finances have also been concerns," says Gilliland.


With a new three-class format, teams like Munster and Highland would be more likely to meet each other in a sectional final instead of having to play through a seven-team sectional like in this year's IHSAA tournament.

Results of the fall survey found enough dissatisfaction with the present system to warrant putting a committee together to look at alternatives. That committee met in December and formulated a three-class proposal that was shared with state ADs at the IIAAA state conference in Indianapolis last month.


The proposal (which you can view in its entirety here), calls for two classes of 128 schools for 3A and 2A, with the remainder of schools falling in the 1A category. There would be 96 sectionals (32 in each class) with four teams per sectional. That number of four teams would stay consistent throughout the regional and semi-state, with two teams facing off in each class at the state level. Because there would not be 128 teams consistently at the 1A level, those sectionals would see some six-team sectionals. But, as the proposal points out, over 91% of the brackets across all levels would have the four-team format, compared to 66% of sectionals during the 2006-07 girls basketball tournament.


The proposal, which would cover girls and boys basketball, as well as volleyball, baseball and softball, offers two different sectional format scenarios. First round sectional games could be played on a Friday evening, with the championship game taking place the following Saturday, or all three games could be played in a one-day Saturday format with daytime first-round games and an evening championship game.


There are also some concerns raised in the proposal. With more sectionals (going from 64 to 96 in number), availability of qualified officials would be an issue. Also, the girls state finals would be held on the same day as the boys sectional finals. However, this is also the case in the current four-class system.


Shortly after the IIAAA's scheduled meeting tomorrow, a survey will be sent to all athletic directors across the state to vote on the proposal.


"If there proves to be enough interest in a change," says Gilliland, "the IIAAA will then make a formal proposal to the IHSAA. If the survey comes back and there is not enough interest in changing the present system, there will be no proposal to the IHSAA."

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