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High Schools

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Samuel Hoffman | The Journal Gazette
Proposed changes to the state’s class system were a hot topic at the high school boys basketball media day Wednesday at Northrop.

Coaches split on tourney revamp

– When it comes to the new proposal to revamp the current four-class state basketball tournament, veteran Bluffton boys basketball coach Kevin Leising said he puts his faith in the 18-member Indiana Basketball Coaches Association committee that developed the plan.

“I will defer to the guys who really put a lot of time into it,” Leising said Wednesday at the boys media day at Northrop. “Lots of people who yearn for yesteryear, I get that. The class system is here whether you like it or not. When I look at the quality on that committee; … if that’s the best they can come up with I support what they are doing. I defer to the proposal just because I trust the people on the committee. (The current system) was never intended as we are going to start this tournament in this kind of format and never change it.”

Columbia City boys coach Chris Benedict was co-chairman of the committee, while Canterbury boys coach Scott Kreiger was also a member, which included a cross section of boys and girls basketball coaches.

The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association sent a survey to the state’s boys and girls basketball coaches in mid-October on a revised tournament structure. If the survey generates enough support, the group could submit a formal proposal to the IHSAA in the spring. The survey was to be returned by today.

“If it makes it better; … I am a big single-class guy, though,” Homestead boys coach Chris Johnson said. “Obviously I am in the minority, and I will live with whatever someone gives me.

“A lot of people complain that you have 2,300 kids in your school, but it still comes down to you have to have kids who want to put in the time. Whether you have a school of 200 or a school of 5,000, if you find five kids who mesh and play hard and put in the time you are going to be successful. It has been proven. Just because you have more kids, it doesn’t mean you are going to have more success.”

The new proposal would create three classes based on school enrollment and have two divisions in each class. Schools in those divisions would stay separated through the sectional round, with 80 sectional winners, then come together at the regional round. Class 3A would have four four-team regionals, with 2A and 1A each having eight four-team regionals. The state’s athletic directors would also have to sign off on the proposal before it went before the IHSAA.

“I get a little a nervous when I feel we are tweaking things all the time,” said Concordia boys coach Josh Eggold, who led the Cadets to a 3A state runner-up finish last season. “I am sure there is good intent behind it and good reasons for it. I don’t have real strong feelings one way or another.”

The proposal would revamp the multiclass system implemented in 1998.

Leising said his biggest issues with the current system were the lack of continuity and pointless travel for some teams.