HUTTON: New basketball tournament format not a done deal
I’m thinking of my service provider for Internet, television and my telephone. The one that I have a hate-hate relationship with.
I don’t really like the customer service, the Internet is only intermittently good for the price and I don’t need the landline anymore. I want to dump it but I’m afraid.
I’m not crazy about my options. My previous provider was good to me but the price points for the phone and internet with the new company hooked me in about six or seven years ago.
Now the old company has the same products but I don’t want to switch despite my latent frustration. It’s just too much of a hassle to get rid of the equipment and start again. I’m waiting for something exponentially better to come along before I break up again.
The cable company is really the 4-class basketball tournament we have in Indiana. Most coaches — 62 percent of them, according to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association survey — don’t like it. But that is not overwhelming.
Overwhelming was when over 90 percent of the football coaches voted to add another class. Thirty-four percent were in favor it and two percent were undecided.
“We felt like that if only 34 percent of the coaches like the tournament that was a strong statement,” Tom Beach, the spokesman for the IBCA, said.
It’s not really clear if they want to change the tournament, at least to the proposal that was crafted by the IBCA. The new one increases sectionals from 80 to 64 and then reclassifies teams after sectional winners are determined.
The new format was designed to create more symmetry (four team sectionals, regionals, semistates and an eight team state final for three classes), reduce travel and rekindle interest for what was once the greatest high school tournament in the world.
I can’t tell if there is real momentum for the proposal, which was tabled last week by the IHSAA or if this whole subject has worn people out. It’s been 17 years since single class basketball died a bitter, ferocious death. People are wary of making a move to something that could be worse.
Merrillville coach T.J. Lux summed up the general inertia of the proposal — one that I personally believe is clever and doable — by saying: “I don’t see anyone saying this is it.”
And yet Lux was like many of the coaches who voted in favor of it. Opposition is rooted in several common themes. It’s too complex. (It’s not at all. Sectionals won’t change much from year-to-year and the reclassification after sectionals isn’t that hard.) Travel time increases. (This is not true at all in almost every case. That is why the proposal was generated.) And sectionals will change. (Yes, that is true but why is that bad?)
When the IBCA sent out the survey, they urged schools to vote for the good of the game. The implicit message, which had been hammered home by the media and by state senator Mike Delph of Carmel, was that this format was bad. The numbers told the story too. Attendance at the state finals was way down to a low of 22,820 in 2012. People didn’t care as much anymore
Is this the tipping point? No one seems to know for sure. Typically, support from the coaches needs to be higher than 62 percent. The goal for the IBCA was to get 70 percent. I’d say that’s a nice starting point. They aren’t there yet.
With the new proposal, their were plenty of schools that drew up a map, determined they’d have a more difficult sectional then voted against the proposal. Beach is certain of that. There were others that swallowed hard and voted, “Yes” even if they going into a sectional death trap.
Beach said the IBCA already has its own map of the projected sectionals under their proposal. While he can’t be sure of how it would work out, he figures it has to be close.
“They were like this sucks but I’m going to do it anyway,” he said.
Voting against it because it hurt your school’s chances of winning a sectional was just wrong yet that is part of the problem. Pure self interest.
I personally believe the 17-year four-class experience has been a disaster. I’m ready for a change but I get the reticence of the people who aren’t convinced this proposal is a winner. It’s hard to change and it’s even harder when you aren’t sure what a good answer will be.
All I can say is that sometimes it’s time to make a move even if the solution doesn’t seem great. Let the tinkering begin. This could be just the start of trying to find the right format. I just don’t want the proposal to die. That would be worse than me having to sign a 10-year contract with my cable company.