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And Another Thing



Remember the most iconic moment in Indiana high school basketball history, the moment that hangs front-and-center in the hoops Louvre in this state?

Thaaat's right. Bobby Plump's Shot Heard 'Round The World in Hinkle Fieldhouse, Milan vs. Muncie Central, 1954.

The NCAA apparently wants to make sure that doesn't happen again -- at least without it getting its cut.

The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight can't keep its own house in order, but by golly it's going to keep everybody else's house in order. And so it's decreed this.

Even for an organization that specializes in petty acts of draconian self-interest, this is egregious. Banning a high-school basketball tournament from Hinkle -- the House High School Basketball Made Famous, not to put too fine a point on it -- because the tournament was deemed "non-scholastic" and would include "prospective college athletes"? Who cares?

Here's the insidious part of this: Every high school event held includes "prospective college athletes." So does this mean that, if the day would ever come when the IHSAA either wanted to or was forced into a position to move either a boys or girls state finals into Hinkle again, it would be prohibited from doing so? Even though Hinkle is where Bobby made the Shot, and Jumpin' Johnny Wilson flew, and Oscar ruled, and McGinnis and Downing dominated?

No doubt this is where the scholastic/non-scholastic distinction comes in, so I'm guessing the IHSAA could do that. Still, it clearly signed off on the 10 schools participating in the Big Rivals Tournament, and I'm guessing IHSAA-sanctioned officials would be working the games. So how can it be "non-scholastic"?

This is yet another example of how the NCAA betrays its own stated principles, which are allegedly to look out for the welfare of its "student-athletes." Whose welfare, pray tell, is protected by telling an Indiana kid he can't play in a tournament in Indiana's most revered hoops venue?

No, it is ever thus: The NCAA is in the business of protecting its business. Period, end of story.

Ben Smith's blog.