The IHSAA took steps Friday to even the playing field in the postseason and named the site for its girls basketball state finals.
The executive committee announced the addition of a sixth class for football, a point system that can move teams up a class based on postseason success and named Terre Haute the host site for the girls basketball finals. The decisions were approved Thursday.
I am extremely encouraged by the vision and valor of our executive committee in making these progressive decisions on behalf of student-athletes in the Hoosier state, IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said in a statement. It is my belief that these changes significantly address competition issues in football and will prove to enhance the team sport experience across all other disciplines.
The addition of Class 6A in football will begin in the 2013-14 school year. The move was approved by a 13-5 vote.
The new class will split the current Class 5A in half with the largest 32 schools forming Class 6A, and Class 5A will be made up of schools with student populations ranking 33-64.
I think it is a good decision, said Snider athletic director Russ Isaacs, whose school is currently No. 31 and would be in 6A. The biggest discrepancy in the playoff system in football is the 5A class. It goes from about 1,400 to 1,500 all the way to the largest school, which is almost 4,000 kids – a huge, huge discrepancy there.
What the IHSAA attempts to do in all sports in class systems is to level the playing field so that teams are playing other teams of like ilk.
Other area teams that could move into Class 6A for football, based on current population, are Northrop, Homestead and Warsaw. The top school in the new 6A would be Ben Davis with 4,892 students, and the smallest 6A school would be Columbus North with 2,034 students, based on this years enrollment numbers.
There is still a huge discrepancy in size, but right now, I think it goes down to 1,500 or 1,600, so thats more than three times as big, Homestead football coach Chad Zolman said. To level the playing the field a little bit, it looks pretty good.
The approved change that could affect the most schools in the area is the postseason point system.
The system, approved by a 16-2 vote, will be used for team sports (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball and volleyball). Schools will earn a point for sectional titles, two for regional titles, three for semistate titles and four for state titles.
Schools earning six or more points over a two-year period will move up a class for the next two years. Point totals will be compiled based on the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years to determine classes for the 2013-14 school year.
Its fair for everybody, said Matt Lindsay, Bishop Luers athletic director and football coach, whose teams compete in Class 2A. I know it will affect us, probably, but thats life. We dont really care where we play. Tell us where to go, and we will go play somebody.
It doesnt matter what class you are in. If you are good, you are good. Ive said that for 20 years, and I believe it.
Canterbury boys basketball coach Scott Kreiger, who led the Cavaliers girls program to Class A titles in 2008, 09, 10 and 12, said he would have liked the accumulation of points to be over a four-year period as the Indiana Football Coaches Association proposed.
I think a four-year cycle of excellence might be a little better picture of what a particular school is going through, Keiger said. I think it is a good-faith effort by the IHSAA to try and provide as much of a good opportunity to as many teams as possible.
In February, the IFCA proposed the additional football class as well as seeding the sectionals and a four-year point system to the IHSAA. The executive committee rejected the sectional seeding 17-1.
I think it will be very well received, Snider football coach Kurt Tippmann, a member of the IFCA committee that created the proposal, said of the changes. I think it will create excitement. There are going to be some new matchups and rivalries coming out of this. There will be schools that have been very good that will be challenged in different ways. I think it will be good for the kids playing high school football in Indiana. I think it will be very well received and create some more excitement.
Memorial Coliseum and Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis were the two other bidders for the girls basketball finals. Fort Wayne played host to the event in 2010 and 2011.
Terre Haute reportedly had an overwhelming financial package, including free hotel rooms for the eight participating teams.
We are disappointed, Memorial Coliseum general manager Randy Brown said. We feel our facility is a state-of-the art complex that has more amenities than those found in Terre Haute. We respect the decision-making with our colleagues at the IHSAA and will be here for future tournaments.