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Sunday, Apr. 20, 2014

It's a dead issue folks, time to move on

Posted Wednesday, July 11, 2012, at 1:02 PM

Just for the record, I'm a proponent of single-class basketball in Indiana.

Now that I've made my stance on this it's time to climb onto the soapbox and expound for all to hear that it's a dead issue, one that's going nowhere.

Recently the Indiana High School Athletic Association was faced with a dilemma thanks to one sneaky state senator and legislation he introduced that would ban the class system in high school basketball.

Indiana State Senator Mike Delph (R) of Carmel used Senate Bill 236 to in part, attempt to make it illegal for any school corporation in the state to compete in a multiple-class basketball tournament.

Delph's action drew the attention of IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox, who after direct meetings with Delph, initiated a state-wide debate for the public.

In what were described by the IHSAA in a recent press release as a series of 11 meetings hosted by both individuals to get the public's thoughts and to take a straw poll, the organization gave the public a chance to comment on one of the hottest topics of any in high school sports in Indiana that I can remember.

They also asked those directly involved what they thought of the system.

To make a long story short, the public voted in favor of one class while the players, coaches, athletic directors and principals all voted in favor of multiple classes.

So which one do you think the IHSAA will follow? You guessed it. According to that same press release there will be no further action taken on the matter by the IHSAA.

They are not going to formulate any adjustments to the current system for either boys or girls and any proposals that would alter the current structure of the tournament submitted by member schools or administrative and coaches associations will continue to be accepted and studied.

It don't mean they'll do anything with them, they'll just study it. And we all know what that means -- thanks for your suggestion, don't call us we'll call you.

That may sound sarcastic -- and frankly that's the general idea -- but you must also look a little deeper at the results of all the voting.

Among the 11 different sites that held the sessions, a total of 514 votes were cast in the straw poll.

Of those only two -- Vincennes Lincoln and Merrillville -- had votes in favor of class basketball.

The fans in Vincennes had only 16 of the 48 present vote in favor while at Merrillville just five of the 32 in attendance showed a positive for single-class tournaments.

While I can't speak for anyone at the meeting at Merrillville -- and in fairness to anyone at my alma mater in Vincennes -- my guess would be that there were more people from smaller schools present at those meetings than at any other locations.

The old Vincennes Sectional in it's heyday had just four schools, Lincoln, Rivet, South Knox and North Knox, with the majority of tournaments won by Lincoln and South Knox.

North Knox won just a small handful and I don't think Rivet ever won one. So maybe the outer precincts found a way to be heard there.

Even including those two oddities, the majority of fans still wanted to see a return to single-class basketball.

A total of 514 fans were polled and the single-class crowd took a 350-164 (68.09 percent) majority.

Just for those of you keeping track Vincennes voted it down 32-16 and Merrillville downcast single-class by a 32-5 tally.

Just as one big sidenote, the school credited with being the smallest ever to win a state single-class crown hosted fans who issued a vote in favor of single-class tournaments by a whopping 57 to 4 margin.

The only unanimous vote came at Gary Roosevelt where all nine fans in attendance said yes to single classes.

So why did the IHSAA decide to side with the multiple class system?

Other than the chaos that would ensue and the egg-on-your-face removal that would be necessary, the primary people who have to deal with class or not spoke loudly and firmly.

A resounding negative vote from the core of the matter -- principals, athletic directors, coaches and players -- gave a complete opposite reaction.

With just over 5,100 votes collected electronically by the IHSAA from that group, a 71.6 percent shout in unison of no more class basketball was heard in the headquarters of the organization in Indianapolis.

With student-athletes casting the most votes (5,943) and athletic directors offering the highest percentage in favor of the current system (79.29), a reversion back to single-class basketball has probably hidden itself once again amongst the ribbon of rejection -- and this time it's likely to be a tightly wrapped package that gets tossed into the rejection bin with very little chance of ever getting recovered.

While we as fans may want to see the return, those who have to do the dirty work don't.

Players were in favor of more than one class 4315 to 1628 while only 70 of the 232 principals surveyed proved to be in favor of single classes and only 75 of the 291 AD's had a positive response to one class.

When that big of a group says it's time to leave things alone and keep it the status quo, maybe it's time we all started listening.

I will still have the pleasure of knowing that single class is probably more exciting and more worthy of my attention, but at the same time I hope we can all respect the wishes of those who make it happen.

Rick is a sports writer for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 ext. 20. He can also be reached by email at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.



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