The IHSAA Executive Committee approved a portion of an Indiana Football Coaches Association (IFCA) proposal in adding a sixth classification to the football state tournament beginning in 2013-14. The Committee also voted in favor of a two-year tournament success factor in each team sport (baseball, basketball, football, soccer, softball volleyball), an accumulation of points by which any school would move up one class based on tournament series performance during that time.
Those decisions along with another that will see the IHSAA Girls Basketball State Finals return to Terre Haute for a second consecutive year highlighted the committee's final monthly meeting of the 2011-12 school year on Thursday.
Members of the IFCA had presented a multiple-part proposal to the IHSAA Executive Committee at its February meeting with the Committee then opting to table the proposal for continued study during its March gathering. In brief, it included adding a sixth competition class, seeding the top two teams in each sectional and adding a four-year "tradition factor".
The Executive Committee voted to adopt the sixth class (13-5), but rejected seeding the sectionals (1-17) as well as the four-year tradition factor (0-18) in favor of a similar proposal written by IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox calling for a two-year tournament success factor in each team sport (16-2), not just football. On a sport-by-sport basis, schools will earn one point for a sectional championship, two points for a regional championship, three points for a semi-state title and four points for a state title. Should a school earn six points or more during a specified two-year period – for instance two state championship game appearances – that school would compete in the next higher enrollment class for the ensuing two seasons.
Tournament success achieved during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 school years will be used to determine classifications in 2013-14.
With regard to the sixth class, the current Class 5A will be split in two with the largest 32 schools by enrollment making up Class 6A and schools ranking 33-64 in Class 5A. Each team in those classes would have a bye week to start state tournament play and begin in what is currently the sectional semifinal round.
The remaining schools will be evenly distributed between Classes 4A, 3A, 2A and A and continue playing in a six-week tournament format. The new classifications will be announced next winter followed by the sectional assignments.
"I am extremely encouraged by the vision and valor of our Executive Committee in making these progressive decisions on behalf of student-athletes in the Hoosier state," said Cox. "It is my belief that these changes significantly address competition issues in football and will prove to enhance the team sport experience across all other disciplines."
The Committee also voted (18-0) to return the girls basketball state finals and its four state championship games to Terre Haute's Hulman Center for a second year. The one-year contract calls for the games to be played Saturday, March 2, 2013 in the 10,200-seat venue.
The multi-purpose facility has hosted many IHSAA and NCAA tournament events over the years and is the home of the Indiana State University basketball teams. Terre Haute also has hosted the IHSAA Cross Country Finals at the renowned LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course since 2004.
In addition to Terre Haute, the IHSAA received bids to host the games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis along with the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum in Fort Wayne, the host site for the 2010 and 2011 state finals.
"The Association wishes to thank all three entities for their submissions of proposals to host our girls state basketball championships," said Cox. "In the final analysis, the proposal from Terre Haute provided the best support and opportunities to the eight member schools that will arrive at the state finals along with other considerations extended to the IHSAA. The entire Terre Haute community should be proud of their leadership in the creation and execution of this effort."
In addition, a third seat on the IHSAA Board of Directors became vacant to start 2012-13 as Fort Wayne Concordia Lutheran principal John Marks resigned after recently announcing his retirement following a 42-year career, the last 29 at Concordia Lutheran. He has represented private schools on the IHSAA Board since that seat was created in 2007.
In April, Tri-West Hendricks principal Jim Diagostino resigned his District II, Class 2A seat after accepting a job in another district and Connersville athletic director Pam Noble, who held the seat reserved for a South District Female, announced her retirement after a 34-year career, 33 at Connersville.
Those vacant seats will be filled during the next Board of Directors election in December.