— For generations, Hoosiers took pride in the hysteria that swept the state during the annual high school basketball tournament.
When other states adopted multiple classes to give smaller schools a chance to claim a title, Indiana stuck with its single-class tournament.
The fans liked it that way.
Every Hoosier basketball fan grows up knowing the story of little Milan knocking off Muncie Central for the state championship in 1954. The story inspired the movie “Hoosiers,” which helped to further spread the legend of Indiana basketball.
The legend took a big hit, though, when the Indiana High School Athletic Association abandoned the single-class tourney in 1997.
Schools were placed up against schools of similar size, and the state began to crown four champions. Suddenly, schools that had never made it out of the sectional were competing for state championships.
Fans, though, have never really embraced the multi-class tournament, and many have complained for years that Indiana should go back to the good old days when high school basketball was king, when gyms across the state were filled to the rafters with screaming fans.
The fact is, of course, Indiana will never recapture the good old days. The 1950s and ’60s when everyone turned out for the high school basketball game on Friday night are gone forever.
Life has changed, and folks now have many other things competing for their attention.
Nonetheless, the IHSAA, with a push from the Indiana General Assembly, has agreed to stage a series of town hall meetings to talk about whether the state should go back to that single-class tourney that made Indiana basketball famous.
The organization last week announced a series of public meetings across the state. One of the meetings will be at 7 p.m. May 1 at Milan High School.
The sessions closest to Kokomo will be at 7 p.m. April 24 at Pendleton Heights High School and at 7 p.m. May 10 at Marion High School.
These meetings represent your chance to influence what the IHSAA decides to do with the state basketball tournament. If you’re interested in this issue, you might want to mark your calendar to attend.