STEVE HANLON: The gift that just keeps on giving

2014-05-16T17:00:00Z 2014-05-16T22:04:22Z STEVE HANLON: The gift that just keeps on givingSteve Hanlon Prep Beat nwitimes.com
May 16, 2014 5:00 pm  • 

Just when you thought it was fixed, a tire goes flat and the muffler falls off. Again. And then someone steals the fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror.

The debate that's divided Hoosiers for 15 years rages on. This is like socialized health care to the 10th power, wearing a pair of Nikes.

Last week this old sports scribbler credited the IHSAA for the changes it made to the girls basketball tournament. By an 18-1 vote, the start of the girls hoops season was moved up a week, which would allow the girls' state finals to move back to Indianapolis, where it belongs.

It also gets rid of the hated overlap between the girls and boys state basketball tournaments, which is great for all Hoosiers.

I've been criticized for being a critic of the IHSAA from time to time. Now, I'm being chastised for supporting last week's move. You can't win for losing sometimes.

Benton Central girls basketball coach David Baxter sent me a copy of a letter he sent to IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox. Baxter is extremely angered by the current changes that will begin in the 2015-16 school year.

Baxter is a good guy. I got to know him when his Attica team and standout Brittany Rayburn came to The Times Region Roundball Rumble. Baxter has major concerns with the impact the newest new tourney will have on volleyball and girls hoops.

"In fact, it is highly evident your decision is unacceptable and a detriment to female student-athletes in Indiana," he wrote.

He questioned the concept of girls practicing both sports during the volleyball sectional week. Baxter is right.

Most of his basketball players also play volleyball. Baxter is afraid if this goes unchanged, many will pick one sport to play and stop playing the other. That's already happened up here, thanks to club volleyball, but I digress.

Baxter also pointed out that the newest new solution has the girls season with 15 weeks and the boys season at 16 weeks. Prep basketball in Indiana is longer than a Duck Dynasty beard. Take a week off the boys season and move on.

He was also concerned with the lack of transparency in the IHSAA. Cox communicated with Baxter that many points of view on this topic before making a final call. Baxter communicated with Cox that the IHSAA ignored the vote against adding two games to the boys and girls hoops seasons.

Athletic directors make a paltry $75,000 a year. Who could blame them for not wanting to be in the gym two more nights each winter? But this is where Baxter is wrong. If you don't want to play 22 games, don't. Just play 20 and move on.

Baxter gave Cox some solutions. First, start the volleyball season one week earlier to take away the volleyball-hoops overlap. I agree. This should be done. Secondly, he suggests moving the girls hoops state finals to the Fairgrounds Coliseum. Nope. Bankers Life Fieldhouse is where it belongs.

He suggested going back to the midweek regional with a two-game semistate and shortening the tournaments by a week for both genders. No. Please. Not that.

While Baxter and many girls coaches are angry right now, he ended his letter with moderation and reason.

"It is my goal to bring all parties together to seek a solution that is great for all female student-athletes in Indiana. Thank you for your time and consideration in this matter."

What we will have is better than what we have now. But it doesn't mean it couldn't get better.

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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