Seems like about this time of year after the March boys state basketball finals someone brings up the former single-class state basketball tournament.
And if you are keeping track, and hoping for some update on the single-class format that was scrapped after the 1996-97 season, well, I’ve been told there’s nothing new.

Nope, Class Basketball remains our way of life. Like it or not . . . it is what it is.

So I think by now we need to get used to this fact: Indiana will NEVER go back to the one-class high school tournament format. It will remain four classes for both the boys and girls.

Actually, there’s nothing new to speak at all about multiclass sports, in general, coming from the IHSAA.

But there is some news about multipliers. 

There is a proposal from the Porter County Conference member schools in Northwest Indiana to add a multiplier to any private or public charter school.

Its intent? To try to level the playing field between private and public schools.

A multiplier means that when a state is deciding what class each school should play in, a private school’s enrollment number would be multiplied. That would likely put them in a higher class than their real enrollment number. The multiplier varies. 

It’s my understanding that you would simply take a private or charter school’s certified enrollment figure and multiply it by 1.65 (which is the rule proposal before the Board of Directors). That proposal reportedly will be considered by the IHSAA Board of Directors in the next few days.

Kinda confusing? Uh-huh….

The IHSAA has had these multipliers proposed before. That didn’t go anywhere, and there’s a pretty good chance this will proposal will not receive much, if any, support, either.

Currently, a success advancement system is used in Indiana for all IHSAA-member schools.

Its known as the “Success Factor.’’ It was added in 2013-14 by the IHSAA. It was created to balance things, enabling schools to move up or down based on points accumulated every two years.

(The IHSAA Success Factor does work with either school choice and the open boundary law afforded to public schools. It basically serves the same purpose as a parent’s decision to send their children to a private rather than public school in their current homes district as long as they transport them to that school.)

Like the multipliers, there’s been no discussion of separate tournaments just for our private/charter members by our high school governing body. 
Still, I’ve heard some talk from a few sports-knowledgable fans, and the opinion is that it just might be time for change.

The conversation centered around going to two (2) classes.

No, not one for Class 1A and 2A schools. No, not another for Class 3A and 4A schools.

Nope…and are you ready for this? Ready or not, here goes: One for public schools, and the other for all catholic/parochial, charter schools, independents and private schools, you name it.

Yeah, I know, this WILL make some folks angry, mighty angry.

First of all, it needs to be pointed out that all schools play by the rules as they are written.

There’s also a difference when you talk about parochial/Catholic schools, and private Christian schools, and Hebrew schools, and charter schools.
So for the sake of not having to distinguish among the various schools, let’s just label them as either “Public’’ or “Private.’"

Consider this: If the private schools want to keep "open" boundaries, then they are not playing by the same rules as public schools that have geographical boundaries. 

I’m guessing some might agree . . . and, of course, others won’t.

The “open’’ boundaries then becomes a competitive advantage and un-evens the playing field, as the point continued to be made.

If they choose to continue at this level and play a tournament featuring all private schools, then the rest of the public schools would then play for one championship.

So there, that gives us two (2) classes.

I’m sure that this has already been debated in some circles.

Makes perfect sense, you say? 

Well, it might have a nice ring to it, some might contend . . . but I can’t see that happening.

Here’s why:

With open enrollment laws in the state, public schools have the choice to accept any students they want. It could be argued that puts them on the same footing with private schools with no school boundaries. 

The caveat still, is, that any athletic transfer that occurs once that student has enrolled in a specific school.

Should the private schools decide it’s time to play by the same rules and boundaries set for the Public Schools, then you are back to one class with a more even playing field.

Though I personally think that, if we keep the multi-class system, it needs to work; we definitely need to keep the classes for football, where bodies and numbers are more important.

Regardless of the outcome, sounds like an interesting conversation, though I’m guessing a lot of folks would be stunned if the IHSAA ever approved separate tournaments for private/charter schools. 

Still, it would likely be disastrous for the Association in many ways and they’d likely be taken to court the minute it was instituted . . . And probably by the state legislature, too, since it likely has many members who are products of those schools and have their own family members attending them as well.

Fact is, just like public schools, not all private/charters are created equal.

Any thoughts?

-Mark Morrow, a Hall of Fame Indiana sportswriter, has resided in Hamilton County since 1989. You can follow him in The Times, and on Twitter at mmediamarko12. He can be reached at mediamarko5@gmail.com or by calling 317-460-8018.