Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 26 to 50 of 50

Thread: Should I find it telling...

  1. #26
    It is ka Thankee sai Major Cold's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Garrett, IN
    Posts
    9,108
    Mood

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I really think the lack of overall enthusiasm has to do with football. It is just more popular.

  2. #27
    Tree People to the Core! indygeezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Cumberland
    Posts
    15,263
    Mood

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    It doesn't matter...we're now multi class and they will never go back. We're screwed that way. (But to say that small schools want this is just WRONG)

    We might as well accept Bobby Knight's words on situations like this. Except one thing, we don't get to enjoy it.
    If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

  3. #28
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Major Cold View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    I really think the lack of overall enthusiasm has to do with football. It is just more popular.

    Some have argued part of the reason for class basketball was to help level the playing field for other sports, like football.

    IHSAA basketball was the 800lb gorilla in the room. It's not any longer.

    -Bball
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  4. #29
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I believe if we chart the decline in HS basketball attendance we'll see it took a marked turn downward at the installation of class basketball. There may well have been some trends downward which could be blamed on lots of things, economy, DVD's, arcades, Nintendos, etc.... but those trends IMHO would be nothing compared to the downfall after class basketball came to be.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  5. #30
    DIET COKE! Trader Joe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Troll Hunting
    Age
    26
    Posts
    30,928

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Single class basketball would be amazing, but at the same time, I don't think there would be another Milan miracle. Not when you have teams like LN, Pike, North Central, etc. running the show. Too much athleticism from the city teams. You might get a smaller school that has a chance every few years, but never a school as small as Milan.

    I went to Brebeuf, so I was actually pretty lucky. We knew many of the teams we came up against in Sectionals and Regionals, and hated their guts (Danville, Lebanon, Chatard).

    I also agree that it's easier to get a ticket to a game on game night, but you also have to remember that gyms are bigger now, and there are just flat out more high schools than there used to be. High school basketball is still king in Indiana. Maybe it isn't as big of a deal as it once was, but it is still much bigger than football. I've only been out of high school for three years, and I can vouch for that.

    “WE NEVER SURRENDER, WE NEVER GIVE UP, WE KEEP ATTACKING”- Frank Vogel
    momentarygodsblog.com https://twitter.com/momentarygods

  6. #31
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    . High school basketball is still king in Indiana. Maybe it isn't as big of a deal as it once was, but it is still much bigger than football. I've only been out of high school for three years, and I can vouch for that.
    Your perspective is skewed though. It's far from what it was when Bloomington North won the last IHSAA championship in single class basketball in the 90's.

    Somewhere along the line it became all about winning instead of simply doing your best and competing. Not everyone can win, no matter how much we water down the competition. Someone always has to lose.

    The reason so many gyms are big is because they needed to be big to hold all the fans. Not true anymore. At least not for basketball. Colorguard competitions outdraw basketball now.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  7. #32

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    there are just flat out more high schools than there used to be.

    Whoa! Go back to the 50s, when every township had a high school. There were a lot more high schools then.
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

  8. #33
    DIET COKE! Trader Joe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Troll Hunting
    Age
    26
    Posts
    30,928

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bball View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Your perspective is skewed though. It's far from what it was when Bloomington North won the last IHSAA championship in single class basketball in the 90's.

    Somewhere along the line it became all about winning instead of simply doing your best and competing. Not everyone can win, no matter how much we water down the competition. Someone always has to lose.

    The reason so many gyms are big is because they needed to be big to hold all the fans. Not true anymore. At least not for basketball. Colorguard competitions outdraw basketball now.
    Can I see some stats on the colorguard comps outdrawing basketball? And in what setting?

    I understand it is not the same, but I do not believe one can truly argue that football is bigger in this state. It's just simply not true. Maybe basketball isn't as big as it once was, I understand that, but it is still the biggest sport in Indiana high schools.

    “WE NEVER SURRENDER, WE NEVER GIVE UP, WE KEEP ATTACKING”- Frank Vogel
    momentarygodsblog.com https://twitter.com/momentarygods

  9. #34
    DIET COKE! Trader Joe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Troll Hunting
    Age
    26
    Posts
    30,928

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Putnam View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Whoa! Go back to the 50s, when every township had a high school. There were a lot more high schools then.
    What happens when you factor in new private high schools?

    “WE NEVER SURRENDER, WE NEVER GIVE UP, WE KEEP ATTACKING”- Frank Vogel
    momentarygodsblog.com https://twitter.com/momentarygods

  10. #35
    Administrator Unclebuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    32,767

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    All I know is that when I was younger I used to watch the final 4 every year - the two games in the morning and then the final that night. And now I haven't watched a second of any of the games in at least 15 years or so.

  11. #36
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Can I see some stats on the colorguard comps outdrawing basketball? And in what setting?

    I understand it is not the same, but I do not believe one can truly argue that football is bigger in this state. It's just simply not true. Maybe basketball isn't as big as it once was, I understand that, but it is still the biggest sport in Indiana high schools.
    I know someone who works the color guard events around the state and constantly tells me of arriving the night before to sparsely filled gyms for basketball and then many more people the next day for the color guard events. Feel free to correct me if that is bad info.

    Here's a story from 2000 about the tournament and TV ratings...
    http://www.allbusiness.com/legal/leg...0611395-1.html


    Someone asked about the tournament of champions. One problem with it was you had 4 'champions' of which 3 would have to leave the gym with a loss in their final game. That didn't sit well with the participants and felt awkward for the event.

    Although Milan was the last small school to win the tournament can anyone post some records to see Final Four participants throughout the years? I'm sure many small schools made it to the semi-state after Milan and some of those must've broken on thru to the Final Four. Loogootee comes to mind in the 70's. Did Argos make it out of the semis? Winning the single class tournament was a major, major accomplishment no matter the school size. Just being in the mix deep into the tournament was an accomplishment of large proportions. Large schools lost too.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  12. #37
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I wonder what would happen if there was a single tournament that all schools were invited to BUT small schools of a certain size could opt out and then play in a tournament of small schools that had opted out of the 'big dance'?

    How many small schools would have the cajones to do that?
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  13. #38
    Member idioteque's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    washington dc
    Age
    28
    Posts
    9,531

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Indy View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    What happens when you factor in new private high schools?
    Not sure about Indianapolis, but when you factor it in statewide I'm pretty sure it would be like a drop in what was once an ocean of high schools.

  14. #39
    woman without a team
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    7,055

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    So "they" destroyed an Indiana phenomenon to make the participants feel better. ?
    That and they tought they'd make more money. Silly "they."

  15. #40
    Play McRoberts and Price! BRushWithDeath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Johnson's Bay, Lake Wawasee
    Age
    28
    Posts
    5,299

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by Putnam View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    For the same reason they don't make the winners of the Special Olympics go against Michael Phelps.



    I think that tournament of winners idea was discussed, but nobody wants it. The big schools would have nothing to prove, and the little schools would gain nothing from the trouncing.



    .
    It wasn't just discussed. It was done. And it was exactly as you expected.
    "I had to take her down like Chris Brown."

    -Lance Stephenson

  16. #41
    Play McRoberts and Price! BRushWithDeath's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Johnson's Bay, Lake Wawasee
    Age
    28
    Posts
    5,299

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by dcpacersfan View Post
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    Not sure about Indianapolis, but when you factor it in statewide I'm pretty sure it would be like a drop in what was once an ocean of high schools.
    There were still more in Indy then too. Many IPS schools have consolidated as well. Crispus Attucks, Shortridge, etc.
    "I had to take her down like Chris Brown."

    -Lance Stephenson

  17. #42
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I was going to post some snippets from this 2002 piece from Sports Illustrated... But it's (IMO) so good that it wouldn't do it justice just to post snippets.

    From the SI Vault (link at the end of the article).

    December 02, 2002
    Class Struggle
    Five years after Indiana carved up its basketball tournament into four tiers—ending any chance of another Hoosiers-style miracle—declining interest has led to sparse crowds and plummeting revenues


    When Bobby Plump began dribbling away from that "picket fence" formed by his teammates, then rose with the ball cocked high, he had no idea what his shot would come to mean. If he had known that roughly 90% of the people in his state—in person or on radio or TV—would share that moment in real time, Plump probably would have made a mess of the jumper that gave tiny Milan High its 1954 Indiana state basketball tournament title. "We were naive," he says today. "In those days it took a couple of weeks for news to get to Milan. Hell, if we'd known we were supposed to be good, we would have lost." 5 Ignorant and innocent, the Milan Indians won, and the symbolism of that victory instantly became an article of Hoosier faith. Throwing everyone into one draw in Indiana's state tournament meant that schools like Milan, with 161 students in four grades, could be the equal of their opponent in that final, Muncie Central, with an enrollment 10 times as large.� Communities beyond Indiana—football-fevered towns in Texas, for instance, or Minnesota towns in the thrall of hockey—have also known how high school sports can knit people together. But civic life rarely revolves around schoolboy sports the way it once did, even in the Hoosier state.

    For decades boys at the smallest Indiana high schools milled dreams of the Milan Miracle. So long as a team could play only five men at a time, the little guys stood a chance. In 1986 moviegoers watched the fictional Jimmy Chitwood duplicate Plump's shot in Hoosiers, and four years after that 41,000 fans turned out for the Hoosier Dome valedictory of Damon Bailey, who led Bedford North Lawrence High, with an enrollment of about 1,600, to the title. The one-class tournament, Phillip M. Hoose writes in his book Hoosiers: The Fabulous Basketball Life of Indiana, was the ideal embodiment of the Hoosier mentality: "It gave everyone a chance, but no one a handout."

    Before the 1997-98 season, however, the Indiana High School Athletic Association put an end to it all. With an impetuosity and disregard for tradition that was uncharacteristic of Hoosiers, the IHSAA cleaved the state's 382 schools into four classes based on enrollment and inaugurated a tournament for each. The push for change came from small-school principals, who had worked their way onto the board of the IHSAA and, in a 12-5 vote, scrapped the single-class tournament despite widespread opposition among students, fans and coaches. The insurgents argued that no small school had won a championship since Milan, and they wanted more kids to win state titles, even if each title would be diminished.

    Plump led the preservationists, heading a group called Friends of Hoosier Hysteria out of his tavern in Indianapolis, Plump's Last Shot (where the coasters say ALWAYS TIME FOR ONE MORE). Alas, he and his allies had everything on their side except the IHSAA board. It's small consolation, but everything Plump predicted has come to pass. He had pointed to Minnesota, where that state's storied hockey tournament hasn't been the same since it abandoned its all-comers format in 1992. Sure enough, since the introduction of the class system, Indiana tournament attendance and revenue have plunged. Last spring the four class events combined to draw 438,430 spectators, a little more than half as many as the final single-class tournament. Postseason basketball has been like the weak candidate at the top of a ticket, dragging down interest during the regular season, too.

    The sectionals, the marvelous little tributaries in the bracket, have lost their charm, as teams sometimes travel an hour or more to play like-sized opponents. A typical old-style sectional-six schools, three games, one county—had the chesty big school in the county seat, the plucky little one that had survived the consolidation movement of the '60s and several supporting characters. "A lot of fans needled one another, and we might beat up on each other out on the floor," says Plump, "but if you won your sectional, everyone in the county got behind you."

    In a rural state where life is tethered to the turn of the seasons, basketball perfectly suited that dormant interval between autumn harvest and spring planting. Small schools without the bodies or budget to field and outfit a football team could always empty a classroom of its desks and chairs, or a church of its pews, and hoist a couple of goals. (In Indiana they're goals, never baskets.) And those schools that did spring for a gym sometimes spared no expense, building temples with more seats than the town had people—a good thing, for visiting fans would fall in behind the team bus and form caravans.

    The obsession extended beyond the small towns into the cities. In Middletown, their classic study of Muncie in the 1920s, sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd declared the Bearcats of Muncie Central to be "an agency of group cohesion" that "sweeps all before it.... No distinctions divide the crowds which pack the school gymnasium.... North Side and South Side, Catholic and Kluxer, banker and machinist—their one shout is 'Eat 'em, beat 'em, Bearcats!' " In Indiana the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision did less to hasten school desegregation than the tournament did a year later, when two all-black high schools, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks and Gary Roosevelt, met in the final. Suddenly even the most bigoted Hoosier had to contemplate the prospect that white kids might not play for any more state titles unless the Negroes got sprinkled in among them.

    Attendance at high school sports events has declined across the country. But the fact that fewer Hoosiers spend Friday nights in the winter wedged between neighbors is particularly worthy of attention. Nowhere has the game meant more than it did in Anderson, a Class 4A school in a company town 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis, whose plants have long turned out parts for General Motors. For decades locals reliably filled the Wigwam (capacity 8,998), home of the Anderson High Indians; they fought over season tickets in divorce settlements and bequeathed them in wills. Anderson never sold more than it did in 1984, when unemployment crested at 22% and 5,600 season tickets were purchased. To Andersonians, high school basketball was no mere diversion.

    Yet with the introduction of class basketball, season-ticket renewals have melted away. Now the Indians sell 1,100 season tickets and the Wigwam is barely one-third full. With all but a half-dozen of its nearly 20 automotive plants closed, Anderson has suffered something of an identity crisis. "We're becoming a suburb of Indy," says Doug Vermillion, an Anderson High history teacher who spent 14 seasons as the Indians' P.A. announcer. "People simply have less loyalty to Anderson. Where a dollar used to be turned over in town seven, eight, nine times, now it might turn over two or three times before it goes to Indy or Chicago."

    A die-hard crew of fans—the "downtown coaches"—still gather at the Wigwam in the mornings to talk, play H-O-R-S-E or just catch the glint off the maplewood floor. One of them is Joe Bonisa, president of the AHS Boys Basketball Booster Club, who met his wife, Norma, at one of the auto plants, where both worked at jobs from which they've retired. "I'd say 75 to 80 percent of the decline in the crowds is because of class basketball," Norma says. "Me, I look at it as, Why punish the boys? They're making the effort. Plus, it's cheap entertainment. But a lot of our friends think that if they don't attend, the IHSAA will get the message."



    Disaffected adults are only part of the story. Student attendance and participation have suffered, too. "Kids are turning to other things-movies, DVDs, computers," says Steve Schindler, Anderson's athletic director. "Businesses are open later, and kids are more mobile, out working to pay for gas and insurance for their cars."

    If Anderson's ambiance is that of a down-at-the-heels industrial town, then Ripley County (where Milan is located) is archetypal rural Indiana. Batesville High (SI, March 17, 1997) sits on Ripley's northern edge, and regular-season attendance remains strong. Yet with the schools in the Bulldogs' Class 2A sectional now flung across five counties, the team travels up to three times as far to its early tournament games—and the fans don't follow. "The night we won the right to play in the 2A final two years ago, there was hardly anybody in the gym [where we played]" says Batesville coach Mel Siefert. "It felt like a Friday-night regular-season game. We came home at 2 a.m., and the town was dead. Before, when we won a sectional, we'd come home [at 9:30 p.m.] to a pep session in a full gym.

    "There are no rivalries anymore. Walk up to anyone in Batesville, and I'll bet none could name more than a couple of schools in our sectional. The worst is, you win a sectional and you can't gloat."

    The move to class basketball is a case study in unintended consequences. The retirees who make up so much of a school's fan base are reluctant to spend several hours driving to and from distant tournament games. Coaches at small schools, many of whom supported the change, are suffering under more pressure to win. Meanwhile, the revenue shortfalls from the tournament have left those smallest schools most vulnerable. Under the old system, little Lapel High collected perhaps one sixth of $30,000, the typical take from the sectional at the Wigwam, nine miles away. Under the new system, Lapel might play 25 miles away at fellow Class 1A school Blue River Valley and split $6,000 six ways. It takes a lot of bake sales to make up that difference.

    Class basketball advocates point out that the Milan Miracle was never repeated in 43 years. Yet in every tournament since 1954, small schools have beaten bigger ones, won sectionals, even gone on to the regionals to win there. In Kentucky, the largest of three states that still stage an all-comers tournament ( Delaware and Hawaii are the others), Paintsville High (enrollment 299) beat several large schools en route to the 1996 state title, and the tourney still draws huge crowds.

    When it instituted the change in 1997, the IHSAA declared class basketball to be a two-year experiment. If it failed, Indiana could always have its one-class tournament back. Yet the new format is apparently here to stay. "For the kids, it's very simple," says IHSAA spokesman Jerry Baker. "They like to play their sport, and many wouldn't experience the emotion of making it to a state final without class basketball. A lot of people are still living in 1954. God bless 'em—it was a great year."

    This month the coaches, who were cut out of the decision from the start, began canvassing their ranks for proposals for alternative tournament formats. And there have been whispers that 70 or 80 of the state's largest schools might play a postseason tournament of their own in hopes of forcing the IHSAA to reverse itself. For now, such ideas are little more than bones for the downtown coaches to chew on. "If the IHSAA can weather all they've weathered and still not see the light," Plump says, "what's the use?"

    Over the summer a member of Speedway High's freshly crowned Indiana Class 2A champs approached Plump at a banquet. Though the school sits within greater Indianapolis, a short dribble from the Brickyard, Speedway is small enough that it has a bit of the Hoosiers feel. Last March the Sparkplugs did their nickname proud, winning with the kind of hustle and precision that would make an old Milan Indian smile.

    "I got one, too," the boy told Plump, flashing his championship ring.

    "That's wonderful," Plump said.



    "Well, it isn't so wonderful," the boy replied. "I'd rather have played on an old sectional champ than won a state class tide."

    Plump recounts this exchange as the preamble to a larger point. Time has enshrouded the Milan Miracle in such a gauzy veil that people forget: The year before they won it all, much the same Milan team had lost to South Bend Central in the state semifinal. "So we got beat," Plump says. "That's part of life. If athletics are taught properly, if everything is kept in perspective, they mirror life. They teach you that nobody's ever won at everything he's tried. That if you're defeated, you should take a lesson from it—to be more dedicated, follow the rules better, depend on your teammates more."

    It may come as a surprise that a man known throughout Indiana as the consummate winner should have such a finely developed appreciation for losing. But five years ago he lost a big one, and most of the Hoosiers who shared in his shot 48 years ago are suffering every bit as much with this defeat as they exulted in that victory.

    http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.c...60/1/index.htm
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  18. #43
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I was going to post some snippets from this 2002 piece from Sports Illustrated... But it's (IMO) so good that it wouldn't do it justice just to post snippets.

    From the SI Vault (link at the end of the article).

    December 02, 2002
    Class Struggle
    Five years after Indiana carved up its basketball tournament into four tiers—ending any chance of another Hoosiers-style miracle—declining interest has led to sparse crowds and plummeting revenues


    When Bobby Plump began dribbling away from that "picket fence" formed by his teammates, then rose with the ball cocked high, he had no idea what his shot would come to mean. If he had known that roughly 90% of the people in his state—in person or on radio or TV—would share that moment in real time, Plump probably would have made a mess of the jumper that gave tiny Milan High its 1954 Indiana state basketball tournament title. "We were naive," he says today. "In those days it took a couple of weeks for news to get to Milan. Hell, if we'd known we were supposed to be good, we would have lost." 5 Ignorant and innocent, the Milan Indians won, and the symbolism of that victory instantly became an article of Hoosier faith. Throwing everyone into one draw in Indiana's state tournament meant that schools like Milan, with 161 students in four grades, could be the equal of their opponent in that final, Muncie Central, with an enrollment 10 times as large.� Communities beyond Indiana—football-fevered towns in Texas, for instance, or Minnesota towns in the thrall of hockey—have also known how high school sports can knit people together. But civic life rarely revolves around schoolboy sports the way it once did, even in the Hoosier state.

    For decades boys at the smallest Indiana high schools milled dreams of the Milan Miracle. So long as a team could play only five men at a time, the little guys stood a chance. In 1986 moviegoers watched the fictional Jimmy Chitwood duplicate Plump's shot in Hoosiers, and four years after that 41,000 fans turned out for the Hoosier Dome valedictory of Damon Bailey, who led Bedford North Lawrence High, with an enrollment of about 1,600, to the title. The one-class tournament, Phillip M. Hoose writes in his book Hoosiers: The Fabulous Basketball Life of Indiana, was the ideal embodiment of the Hoosier mentality: "It gave everyone a chance, but no one a handout."

    Before the 1997-98 season, however, the Indiana High School Athletic Association put an end to it all. With an impetuosity and disregard for tradition that was uncharacteristic of Hoosiers, the IHSAA cleaved the state's 382 schools into four classes based on enrollment and inaugurated a tournament for each. The push for change came from small-school principals, who had worked their way onto the board of the IHSAA and, in a 12-5 vote, scrapped the single-class tournament despite widespread opposition among students, fans and coaches. The insurgents argued that no small school had won a championship since Milan, and they wanted more kids to win state titles, even if each title would be diminished.

    Plump led the preservationists, heading a group called Friends of Hoosier Hysteria out of his tavern in Indianapolis, Plump's Last Shot (where the coasters say ALWAYS TIME FOR ONE MORE). Alas, he and his allies had everything on their side except the IHSAA board. It's small consolation, but everything Plump predicted has come to pass. He had pointed to Minnesota, where that state's storied hockey tournament hasn't been the same since it abandoned its all-comers format in 1992. Sure enough, since the introduction of the class system, Indiana tournament attendance and revenue have plunged. Last spring the four class events combined to draw 438,430 spectators, a little more than half as many as the final single-class tournament. Postseason basketball has been like the weak candidate at the top of a ticket, dragging down interest during the regular season, too.

    The sectionals, the marvelous little tributaries in the bracket, have lost their charm, as teams sometimes travel an hour or more to play like-sized opponents. A typical old-style sectional-six schools, three games, one county—had the chesty big school in the county seat, the plucky little one that had survived the consolidation movement of the '60s and several supporting characters. "A lot of fans needled one another, and we might beat up on each other out on the floor," says Plump, "but if you won your sectional, everyone in the county got behind you."

    In a rural state where life is tethered to the turn of the seasons, basketball perfectly suited that dormant interval between autumn harvest and spring planting. Small schools without the bodies or budget to field and outfit a football team could always empty a classroom of its desks and chairs, or a church of its pews, and hoist a couple of goals. (In Indiana they're goals, never baskets.) And those schools that did spring for a gym sometimes spared no expense, building temples with more seats than the town had people—a good thing, for visiting fans would fall in behind the team bus and form caravans.

    The obsession extended beyond the small towns into the cities. In Middletown, their classic study of Muncie in the 1920s, sociologists Robert and Helen Lynd declared the Bearcats of Muncie Central to be "an agency of group cohesion" that "sweeps all before it.... No distinctions divide the crowds which pack the school gymnasium.... North Side and South Side, Catholic and Kluxer, banker and machinist—their one shout is 'Eat 'em, beat 'em, Bearcats!' " In Indiana the Supreme Court's 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision did less to hasten school desegregation than the tournament did a year later, when two all-black high schools, Indianapolis Crispus Attucks and Gary Roosevelt, met in the final. Suddenly even the most bigoted Hoosier had to contemplate the prospect that white kids might not play for any more state titles unless the Negroes got sprinkled in among them.

    Attendance at high school sports events has declined across the country. But the fact that fewer Hoosiers spend Friday nights in the winter wedged between neighbors is particularly worthy of attention. Nowhere has the game meant more than it did in Anderson, a Class 4A school in a company town 25 miles northeast of Indianapolis, whose plants have long turned out parts for General Motors. For decades locals reliably filled the Wigwam (capacity 8,998), home of the Anderson High Indians; they fought over season tickets in divorce settlements and bequeathed them in wills. Anderson never sold more than it did in 1984, when unemployment crested at 22% and 5,600 season tickets were purchased. To Andersonians, high school basketball was no mere diversion.

    Yet with the introduction of class basketball, season-ticket renewals have melted away. Now the Indians sell 1,100 season tickets and the Wigwam is barely one-third full. With all but a half-dozen of its nearly 20 automotive plants closed, Anderson has suffered something of an identity crisis. "We're becoming a suburb of Indy," says Doug Vermillion, an Anderson High history teacher who spent 14 seasons as the Indians' P.A. announcer. "People simply have less loyalty to Anderson. Where a dollar used to be turned over in town seven, eight, nine times, now it might turn over two or three times before it goes to Indy or Chicago."

    A die-hard crew of fans—the "downtown coaches"—still gather at the Wigwam in the mornings to talk, play H-O-R-S-E or just catch the glint off the maplewood floor. One of them is Joe Bonisa, president of the AHS Boys Basketball Booster Club, who met his wife, Norma, at one of the auto plants, where both worked at jobs from which they've retired. "I'd say 75 to 80 percent of the decline in the crowds is because of class basketball," Norma says. "Me, I look at it as, Why punish the boys? They're making the effort. Plus, it's cheap entertainment. But a lot of our friends think that if they don't attend, the IHSAA will get the message."



    Disaffected adults are only part of the story. Student attendance and participation have suffered, too. "Kids are turning to other things-movies, DVDs, computers," says Steve Schindler, Anderson's athletic director. "Businesses are open later, and kids are more mobile, out working to pay for gas and insurance for their cars."

    If Anderson's ambiance is that of a down-at-the-heels industrial town, then Ripley County (where Milan is located) is archetypal rural Indiana. Batesville High (SI, March 17, 1997) sits on Ripley's northern edge, and regular-season attendance remains strong. Yet with the schools in the Bulldogs' Class 2A sectional now flung across five counties, the team travels up to three times as far to its early tournament games—and the fans don't follow. "The night we won the right to play in the 2A final two years ago, there was hardly anybody in the gym [where we played]" says Batesville coach Mel Siefert. "It felt like a Friday-night regular-season game. We came home at 2 a.m., and the town was dead. Before, when we won a sectional, we'd come home [at 9:30 p.m.] to a pep session in a full gym.

    "There are no rivalries anymore. Walk up to anyone in Batesville, and I'll bet none could name more than a couple of schools in our sectional. The worst is, you win a sectional and you can't gloat."

    The move to class basketball is a case study in unintended consequences. The retirees who make up so much of a school's fan base are reluctant to spend several hours driving to and from distant tournament games. Coaches at small schools, many of whom supported the change, are suffering under more pressure to win. Meanwhile, the revenue shortfalls from the tournament have left those smallest schools most vulnerable. Under the old system, little Lapel High collected perhaps one sixth of $30,000, the typical take from the sectional at the Wigwam, nine miles away. Under the new system, Lapel might play 25 miles away at fellow Class 1A school Blue River Valley and split $6,000 six ways. It takes a lot of bake sales to make up that difference.

    Class basketball advocates point out that the Milan Miracle was never repeated in 43 years. Yet in every tournament since 1954, small schools have beaten bigger ones, won sectionals, even gone on to the regionals to win there. In Kentucky, the largest of three states that still stage an all-comers tournament ( Delaware and Hawaii are the others), Paintsville High (enrollment 299) beat several large schools en route to the 1996 state title, and the tourney still draws huge crowds.

    When it instituted the change in 1997, the IHSAA declared class basketball to be a two-year experiment. If it failed, Indiana could always have its one-class tournament back. Yet the new format is apparently here to stay. "For the kids, it's very simple," says IHSAA spokesman Jerry Baker. "They like to play their sport, and many wouldn't experience the emotion of making it to a state final without class basketball. A lot of people are still living in 1954. God bless 'em—it was a great year."

    This month the coaches, who were cut out of the decision from the start, began canvassing their ranks for proposals for alternative tournament formats. And there have been whispers that 70 or 80 of the state's largest schools might play a postseason tournament of their own in hopes of forcing the IHSAA to reverse itself. For now, such ideas are little more than bones for the downtown coaches to chew on. "If the IHSAA can weather all they've weathered and still not see the light," Plump says, "what's the use?"

    Over the summer a member of Speedway High's freshly crowned Indiana Class 2A champs approached Plump at a banquet. Though the school sits within greater Indianapolis, a short dribble from the Brickyard, Speedway is small enough that it has a bit of the Hoosiers feel. Last March the Sparkplugs did their nickname proud, winning with the kind of hustle and precision that would make an old Milan Indian smile.

    "I got one, too," the boy told Plump, flashing his championship ring.

    "That's wonderful," Plump said.



    "Well, it isn't so wonderful," the boy replied. "I'd rather have played on an old sectional champ than won a state class tide."

    Plump recounts this exchange as the preamble to a larger point. Time has enshrouded the Milan Miracle in such a gauzy veil that people forget: The year before they won it all, much the same Milan team had lost to South Bend Central in the state semifinal. "So we got beat," Plump says. "That's part of life. If athletics are taught properly, if everything is kept in perspective, they mirror life. They teach you that nobody's ever won at everything he's tried. That if you're defeated, you should take a lesson from it—to be more dedicated, follow the rules better, depend on your teammates more."

    It may come as a surprise that a man known throughout Indiana as the consummate winner should have such a finely developed appreciation for losing. But five years ago he lost a big one, and most of the Hoosiers who shared in his shot 48 years ago are suffering every bit as much with this defeat as they exulted in that victory.

    http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.c...60/1/index.htm
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  19. #44

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    That says it all.

    In fact, that says it all twice.
    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

  20. #45

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Quote Originally Posted by SI
    This quote is hidden because you are ignoring this member. Show Quote
    "There are no rivalries anymore. Walk up to anyone in Batesville, and I'll bet none could name more than a couple of schools in our sectional. The worst is, you win a sectional and you can't gloat."
    Bing!

    And I won't be here to see the day
    It all dries up and blows away
    I'd hang around just to see
    But they never had much use for me
    In Levelland. (James McMurtry)

  21. #46

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    i agree completely with bball on all this. i might add however that i couldn't even watch bloomington south make history because i looked and it wasn't even on the damn television that i could find and i live in bloomington. i mean hell, they were only ranked 3rd in the nation and were undefeated and all that but finding it on the tube was like impossible unless you had some expensive cable package as far as i could tell. absolutely horrible marketing and planning on someones part. they should be fired.

  22. #47
    Member Since86's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Muncie
    Posts
    21,075

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Well, that's on your cable provider then, because it was on here in Muncie and there were no ECI teams even playing in any of the games.

  23. #48
    Jimmy did what Jimmy did Bball's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    20,096

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Something that I'd never thought about until reading along in this thread, but how did we get 4 classes all at once? You'd think with the popularity of the winner take all tournament that at least the outside resistance to change would've been so vehement that the IHSAA (even if they ultimately wanted 4 classes) would've simply spun this into a 2 class tournament to satisfy the small school administrators while keeping something a little closer to the one size fits all tourney we had. Then they could make the changes to more classes incrementally over time as they won people over with its virtues (in their mind) as they feel it was needed.

    I'm not saying I'd have been pleased with that either but going from the most popular HS basketball state tournament in the country to 4 classes was an awfully bold first step.

    --
    Another take I have is that the 2 year trial period was a bit sneaky because it loosened opposition somewhat because most believed it would be such a failure that the idea would be in the scrapheap of history after two years. Then, by all accounts it was failing and most people I knew were assuming this class basketball experiment was just a blip on the radar of our proud Hoosier tradition and about to be discarded at the end of the 2 years. Even most in the local media believed something along these lines (I think). Then lo and behold, with everyone expecting a reversal and the experiment soon to end, in the final weeks word began to leak out that the IHSAA in fact was likely to keep class basketball. The opposition did heat up but the horse was already out of the barn at that point (class basketball was already here for 2 years). A lot of opposition was blindsided and organizational efforts were not what they could've been had people known all along that the failures of class basketball were not really bringing its imminent death.

    I question if it ever would've gotten off the ground had there not been the '2 year trial period' proposed to begin with. Just too much initial opposition I think would've occurred. But in hindsight, I don't think they ever had any intentions of looking back after 2 years... come H-ll or highwater, once they got it in place, class basketball was here to stay.
    Last edited by Bball; 04-01-2009 at 10:49 PM.
    Nuntius was right. I was wrong. Frank Vogel has retained his job.

    ------

    "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."

    -John Wooden

  24. #49
    Member SycamoreKen's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Houston, Texas
    Age
    44
    Posts
    10,466

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    I think consolidation had as much to do with te decline as the classes, though the class system was implimented after I left. I went to both Rosedale High School (no longer there) and Terre Haute North. Games at Rosedale were a community event and a big deal. Games at North were just that games, even though the teams in my 2 years were some of the best in the state.

    Is football really that big now ther outside of Indy, Ft. Wayne, and where the traditional powers are? It always struck me as bein gheld like basketball is down here in south Texas. The little brother that really gets no respect.

  25. #50
    Tree People to the Core! indygeezer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Cumberland
    Posts
    15,263
    Mood

    Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo Sports Logo

    Default Re: Should I find it telling...

    Taking this an entirely different direction with odd thoughts.

    Can they now justify the expense and fuel (thank you Al Gore) of the travel required for class tournaments vs. the local Sectionals? Somewhere there is a lawyer who will be championing this cause soon, I'll betcha.

    I know they used to say that no taxpayer money could be used for sports beyond Phys Ed., that they had to be self-sustaining, but is that still true? And even if so, what about the upkeep for the buses used to transport the teams?



    BTW....when I was a kid, not only did we have team buses but we had fan buses too. For something like 50 cents you could ride to the games. Parents did too.
    If you get to thinkin’ you’re a person of some influence, try orderin’ somebody else’s dog around..

Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 39
    Last Post: 01-27-2009, 01:53 PM
  2. Nets implement plan to help their fans find jobs [ESPN]
    By RoboHicks in forum NBA Headlines (RSS Feeds)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 11-12-2008, 02:20 PM
  3. Cant find the members only forums
    By kbunch in forum Market Square (General Non-Sports Discussion)
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 10-20-2008, 02:23 AM
  4. Adande: Jazz find the Lakers slightly out of tune [ESPN]
    By RoboHicks in forum NBA Headlines (RSS Feeds)
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 05-14-2008, 06:50 PM
  5. Police Find Crack in Man's Buttocks
    By Anthem in forum Market Square (General Non-Sports Discussion)
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 02-12-2008, 03:41 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •