Covering High School Sports in America
Let the debate begin ... and continue.

The Indiana High School Athletic Association on Tuesday held the first of several public town meetings to discuss the format of the state basketball tournament.

The meetings are being conducted as a result of an agreement between the IHSAA and state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, who agreed to drop a provision in a recent bill that would have returned Indiana to a one-class tournament.

Delph is a proponent of returning the state to a single-classification event, as highlighted in the movie "Hoosiers". The IHSAA instituted a four-classification tournament in 1997. Critics of the current system say state interest has waned in the tournament because of the switch, citing decreased attendance as a result.

The first meeting was held at Northrop (Fort Wayne, Ind.), and 10 more meetings will be held across the state before the end of the school year. The Indianapolis Star reported that nearly 60 people attended the meeting, with two-thirds favoring a single classification.

"I've said all along that we need to let the public have a say on this topic," Delph told the newspaper. "At the end of our 11 meetings, we'll take a look at the results."

John Marks, principal at Concordia Lutheran (Fort Wayne, Ind.), spoke on behalf of the current setup. His school's girls basketball team won the Class 3A state title in 2010.

"I guarantee you there is not a single student in our student body or a single athlete that would trade that," Marks reportedly said at the meeting. "I've seen both sides of the issue as a coach and administrator and couldn't be more in favor of multiclass basketball or multiclass sports. To think that going back to a one-class tournament is going to put all these fans back in the seats is kind of a fool's paradise. It's not going to happen."

Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz also provided his take on the multiclassification debate.