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Tape on the floor marked the smaller court for this 2012 girls basketball semistate game. The rules are different this year.

Furthermore …

Rules changes for girls come late in the game

Every sport has some factors that are rigid and some that are fluid. Coaches and players work on the factors they can change – the speed of the pitch, whether to punt on fourth and 1, whether to shoot a 3-point or 2-point basket attempt.

And they can safely assume some factors won’t change. The football field is 100 yards long. The basketball rim is 10 feet high.

In Indiana high school basketball, the court is 84 feet long.

Except when it isn’t.

Inexplicably and unfairly, the eight teams playing in the girls’ high school basketball finals Saturday were informed at the 11th hour they would play on a 94-foot court.

After an entire season of working on fast breaks and a host of plays, the teams now have an extra 10 feet for the last game of the season. For the second consecutive year, the finals are being played on a longer college court at Indiana State University. But unlike last year, high school athletics officials will not use tape to mark boundaries of a shorter court and a more compact 3-point zone. The Indiana High School Athletic Association offers two different excuses. One is that the tape boundaries were confusing. The other is that they don’t have time to change the boundaries because a college game is being played there the night before.

The worst part is that the first the teams learned about the change was Monday when coaches asked about it.

Would the IHSAA have made such a last-minute change for the boys’ finals?

Deregulatory bill draws opposition

The LaPorte County commissioners are taking a strong stance against legislation making its way through the General Assembly that would make it easier for some utility companies to increase rates with less regulatory oversight.

The board of commissioners passed a resolution last week opposing the passage of Senate Bill 560 and calling on constituents to express their opinions to legislators as well.

Economic development is the motivation for opposing the bill. The resolution notes that energy costs are key criteria when manufacturing businesses are looking for a new location.

The commissioners are also seeking rate relief for customers who receive electricity service from Northern Indiana Public Service Co.

According to the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, the electricity rates for NIPSCO customers in northwest Indiana are among the highest in Indiana.

The bill would make it easier for companies such as NIPSCO to get customers to pay most of the costs of transmission and distribution infrastructure projects before going through the traditional regulatory review process for rate increases.

“LaPorte County has been active over the years taking a stand in front of the IURC on both electric rates and services for our constituents,” Commission President Willie B. Milsap wrote in an email. “This legislation really guts strict oversight of the investor-owned utilities and does represent back-door deregulation of utilities. It’s bad for ratepayers and we have to hope that legislators aren’t willing to give this kind of windfall to utilities at the expense of both residents and businesses!”