The Associated Press
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana's high school basketball coaches will be voting on a proposal to revamp the current four-class tournament system so that just three teams become state champions.
The Indiana Basketball Coaches Association is sending a survey to all of 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 Indiana High School Athletic Association next spring.
The proposal would revamp the multi-class system implemented in 1998, replacing the state's longtime single-class tourney celebrated by the 1986 film "Hoosiers."
It 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, resulting in 80 sectional winners, and then come together at the regional round. Class 3A would have four four-team regionals, with class 2A and class A each with eight four-team regionals.
Leaders of the coaches association believe the proposal would result in more localized regionals, create more opportunities for underdog teams and reduce travel for the tourney's early rounds. Attendance has also been dropping, with the 22,820 fans at the 2012 boys state finals the fewest ever and the total tourney attendance of 385,024 the lowest since the beginning of class basketball.
Steve Witty, executive director of the coaches group, said the support of about 75 percent of coaches would probably be needed to move ahead.
"We took a lot of the ideas the IHSAA related to us in meetings about what they would or would not accept and sat down the committee and tried to design a tournament that would correct some of those perceived weaknesses," Witty said.
The state's high school athletic directors would also have to sign off on the proposal before it went before the IHSAA. A three-class proposal was rejected in 2008.
"If this proposal creates more fairness for our membership, then it's something I think we should take a look at," IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox said.
Under the proposal, the two divisions in 3A would have 32 schools with an enrollment from 1,935 to 4,687 students. The lower division in 3A would have enrollment from 1,929-1,504. In 2A, the top division would have 64 teams and the lower division 96 teams. In Class A, the split would be 96 teams in the top division and 85 in the lower division.