STEVE HANLON: IHSAA dribbles the ball in the right direction

2014-05-08T17:00:00Z 2014-05-08T22:30:11Z STEVE HANLON: IHSAA dribbles the ball in the right directionSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
May 08, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

The basketball news the IHSAA released this week was good. It was positive for the players, awesome for the schools and getting much closer to giving Hoosier Hysteria the lift it needs.

The folks on Meridian need to be applauded.

First, by an 18-1 vote, the IHSAA Board of Directors moved the start of the girls basketball season up by one week, effective July 1, 2015. This means there will no longer be an overlap of the girls and boys hoops tourneys.

Can anyone say, "Hallelujah?"

And, just as importantly, the girls state finals are moving back to Indianapolis and Bankers Life Fieldhouse after several state championships held in Upper Mongolia.

The Mormon Tabernacle Choir can starting warming up.

No longer will the state's media or hoops-crazed fans be divided over which postseason games to watch. No longer will there be boys sectional championship games held on a Monday night.

The girls get their tournament. The boys get their tournament. And Hoosiers now get both tournaments.

This is good. Real good.

"It's more fair for the girls," said Munster boys basketball coach and president-elect of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association Mike Hackett. "I think it's great their state championships are moving back to Indianapolis."

Hackett was also pleased that all Indiana basketball teams can now play 22 games instead of 20. This will kick in next season. And Hackett said there was one motivating factor, money.

This old baller assumed charging $6 for a ticket would have schools rolling in the green. But I guess not.

"This is going to give us an opportunity to expand our schedule," said Hackett, who had already picked up Bishop Noll and Bowman Academy for next year. Can you say, "Cha ching?"

"Basketball games make money," Hackett said. "The two extra games will allow athletic departments some extra revenue."

And in another good move, junior varsity quarters will be moved from six minutes to seven. This will give younger players more time to work on their skill and competition.

And if the starting times don't drop back, this move is going to make every sportswriter sweat because of deadlines.

And the IHSAA's Executive Committee voted to table the IBCA's proposal to form a hybrid basketball tournament for both boys and girls. The current four-class system would be reduced to three classes, with two divisions in each class based on enrollment.

There would be 80 sectionals instead of 64.

The IHSAA will form a joint task force to further study this proposal. The news gathering will be finished by the Executive Committee's October meeting.

“There is some interest in this proposal but it has a lot of moving parts with financial implications for our member schools,” IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said in a news release. “We decided creating a task force was a good course of action to further study the impact and its feasibility.”

Hackett is sure a change to the current format is coming. He hopes the IHSAA sticks close to the IBCA's proposal. But it will surely be a busy summer on the north side of Indianapolis.

"There was some merit to some if the ideas," said Hackett, looking at trying to come up with a system that would help the small Class 4A programs, reduce extreme travel at the sectional round, among other drawbacks to the current format.

"There are some things they want to tweak," Hackett said. "There's going to be a change. I think the IHSAA knows it, too. I think they tabled it to try and make sure we get it right."

With everything else that came out this week, I'm optimistic. And when was the last time I could write such a thing?

This column solely represents the writer's opinion. Reach him at steve.hanlon@nwi.com.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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