Columnists

IHSAA Takes Shot at New Format for State Basketball Tournaments

Yesterday, the Executive Committee of the Indiana High School Athletic Association voted to make a significant change to the format of the annual boys and girls basketball state tournaments.

In its final meeting of the 2021-22 school year, the group of school principals and athletic directors voted 15-2 to make the regional round a single game and the semi-state round a two-game format beginning with next winter’s tournaments. The previous format of a two-round regional and a single semi-state game had been in place since 2002.

This spring, Commissioner Paul Neidig conducted a survey of principals, athletic directors, boys and girls coaches and 73.4% of those 781 respondents voted in favor of the change with at least 70% in all four groups approving. Regional pairings will be drawn and announced at the same time as the traditional sectional pairings with two regional championship games being played at the same site and potentially from different classes.

Another new wrinkle includes conducting an additional blind draw and announcing the semi-state pairings the day after the regional championship games on IHSAAtv.org.

“We really like the potential of a high-energy atmosphere at the semi-state level with a chance to advance to the state championship games the following week at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the home of the Pacers and Fever,” Neidig said. “This new format will double the number of teams who play a week longer in the tournament and should create a lot of excitement in those communities and will be financially beneficial for those communities that serve as host sites.”

Tournament host sites will be approved by the Executive Committee later this fall.

Also from yesterday’s meeting:

  • The Executive Committee formally approved full membership for Dugger Union, Evansville Christian and Purdue Polytechnic. Those schools become officially eligible to compete in IHSAA state tournaments beginning this fall.
  • The Committee approved modified restrictions on Indiana schools competing against schools from beyond the 300-mile travel limit. IHSAA schools will now be able to participate against out-of-state schools from beyond the 300-mile limit as long as they are in good standing with their state association, the venue is within the 300 mile limit, is and is sanctioned by the NFHS and IHSAA. Also, Indiana schools may now host out-of-state schools in Indiana from beyond the 300-mile limit as long as they are a member in good standing with their own state association and the event is sanctioned by the NFHS and IHSAA.
  • A proposal to raise ticket prices in several sports including football and basketball sectional games from $6 to $7 was also approved as well as raising an officials stipend by $10 at all levels as well as bumping their mileage from 25 cents to 50 cents per mile.

The IHSAA is a voluntary, not-for-profit organization that is self-supporting without the use of tax monies. Since its founding in 1903, the Association’s mission has been to provide wholesome, educational athletics for the secondary schools of Indiana. Its 407 member high schools – public, institutional, parochial and private – pay no annual membership fee or incur entry fees to play in the Association’s tournaments. A state tournament series is conducted annually in 22 sports, 10 for girls, 10 for boys and two co-ed (unified flag football and unified track and field). A 19-person board of directors, elected by member school principals, governs the organization.