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IHSAA plans changes to basketball post-season

IHSAA plans changes to basketball post-season IHSAA plans changes to basketball post-season
By Brandon Miniard, Sports Writer, [email protected]

The Indiana High School Athletic Association executive committee met Thursday to vote on a number of agenda items, including modifying the format for the state tournament.

The proposed change effectively swaps the format for the regional and semi-state rounds, causing the former round to be a one-game playoff while semistate will take on the current regional format. The softball state tournament has played under this format since 2010.

A spring survey of principals, athletic directors, and boys’ and girls’ basketball coaches was conducted by IHSAA commissioner Paul Neidig, with 73.4% of the 781 participants voting in favor of the change, including 70% from each of the four groups. The measure was approved by a 15-2 vote.

Regional pairings will be drawn and announced at the same time of the sectional drawings. Two regional championship games will be played at the same site, potentially from different classes.

When class basketball began during the 1997-98 season, the regional was originally a single game that took place during the school week. The one-game regional took place on a Friday night followed by the two-game semistate the next day. Two years later, the regional was switched to a Tuesday for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. The format proved unpopular, resulting in the two-game regional being implemented before the 2001-02 season.

“In our opinion, (the proposed format) will allow us to build excitement in the tournament,” Neidig said to the Indianapolis Star’s Kyle Neddenriep. “Sectional week can be a tough week on teams. A lot of times it’s three games in a week to win a sectional championship. This would allow you to come off that week and prepare for one game as you move into the regional and get kids healthy.

“With the new format, you would double the number of regional champions from 16 to 32 and then you would have to bring your ‘A’ game the next weekend,” he said. “Historically, the best weekend of the tournament has been when you’ve had to win twice. I think this will keep a focus on the tournament from a greater number of fans and will be a positive financially for those communities hosting the semistate when you have fans in your community all day long.”

Another new addition to the state tournament is the inclusion of a second blind draw for semi-state pairings the day after the regional championship on IHSAAtv.org.

The committee also made modifications to the restrictions regarding schools beyond the 300-mile limit. IHSAA member schools may now compete against schools from beyond that limit so long as they are in good standing with that state’s high school athletic association, are within the 300-mile radius and is an event that is sanctioned by both the IHSAA and the NFHS.

Sectional ticket prices for a number of sports, including basketball and football, will also see an increase from $6 to $7, along with an increase in officials’ stipend by $10 at all levels and bumping their travel pay from 25 cents to 50 cents per mile. Ticket prices for all post-season levels from regional onward remain unchanged.

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