Push for single glass basketball reignites

The debate between single class basketball and a multiple class tournament is now picking up again.

Indianapolis

The thrill of the Indiana State Basketball Tournament, for some, there is nothing like it.

"It has been so much fun and I am so happy my last game was not a loss," said senior Sam Curts, immediately following Carmel's 4A State Championship win.

Four classes, four tournaments, four winners -- it was not always this way though, remember the movie "Hoosiers?" The plot revolved around a small town team from Hickory conquers its big-city foe.

The debate between single class basketball and a multiple class tournament is now picking up again. In all there will be 11 public meetings set to take place across the state discussing ways improve the sport the state is famous for.

"It is a great opportunity for us to go out and talk to the public about the tournament and the likes and the dislikes," said IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox.

IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox likes the way the tournament is now. Cox said of the IHSAA's 408 member schools, 300 of them, roughly 73 percent, have less than 1,000 students. Cox said larger schools have more talent to choose from.

"The idea that a small school can compete on a regular basis with a large school is far-fetched," said Cox.

But there are rare cases, take Butler University for example. The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA tournament final, two years in a row. Using that as an example, State Senators Mike Delph and Jean Leising each proposed bills that would have restored the tourney to the way it was when the games were back when the tournament tipped off for the first time.

"I really believe that there is a problem and we are losing our basketball identity in Indiana," said State Senator Jean Leising.

"I just don't think the small schools have a chance at all, including Loogootee," said Loogootee Boys Basketball Coach Mike Wagoner.

Coach Wagoner brought the Loogootee Lions their first Class A Basketball state title this year.

Wagoner said he knows if there were no class basketball, chances are there would be no championship. Cox said single class basketball is not fair for teams like Loogootee.

"To construct your tournament for the notion that one school might be able to do it every 50 years, versus all these schools that suffer tremendous defeats year after year after year, I am not sure that is good for student athletes," said Cox.
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