STEVE HANLON: It's broke. Now is the time to fix it

2014-01-23T04:18:00Z 2014-01-24T18:22:24Z STEVE HANLON: It's broke. Now is the time to fix itSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
January 23, 2014 4:18 am  • 

In March 1997 there was a loud refrain across the state, from Angola to Zionsville. You can still hear it at the truck stop in Lebanon.

"If it ain't broke don't fix it."

The voices that uttered these words were those in favor of keeping the time-tested Indiana high school single-class basketball tournament. Hollywood made movies about it. Countless books were penned. Hall of Famers spoke about it.

These Hoosiers were hysterical about the move to a four-class system.

But here we are all these years later. I have witnessed countless moments of joy among kids and communities directly related to the change. But like many I still miss the good old days from time to time.

With all the joy there have been some serious issues with the current format. For examples, in 2012 only 22,820 fans attended the boys basketball state finals in Indianapolis, the lowest number in history. The total tournament number of 385,024 was the lowest since class hoops started in 1997-98.

Bowman Academy played Tipton in front of a meager 2,398 fans at Lafayette Jeff in 2012, the lowest semistate crowd in history.

The girls basketball state finals in Terre Haute only drew 8,475 fans that year.

If it is broke someone needs to fix it, right?

Enter the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association. They are working the system to breath life back into Indiana's lost identity. The watchers of the game came up with a hybrid plan.

It would reduce the classes from four to three. But each class would be divided into two divisions at the sectional level, helping out the small 4As.

It would also help fight some of the ridiculous travel nightmares of the current system. Anyone remember the Griffith-Calumet girls basketball sectional championship game in Knox?

Me neither. Like most, I didn't go.

Munster boys coach Mike Hackett, the president elect of the IBCA, said that about 90 percent of the members have responded to the questionnaires concerning this hybrid fix.

"The preliminary numbers are positive for a change," Hackett said. "Right now it looks like it's going."

Next, it will go to the Indiana Interscholastic Athletic Administrator's Association. If these leaders follow their coaches it will finally go to the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

There could be some changes. That's a lot of opinions that have to come together. Good luck.

If everyone gives this a thumbs up, it would not happen until the 2015-16 school year. Here's hoping some help is given.

It is a different day. Right or wrong, our grandfathers never had this debate.

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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