Sports

Coaches association board: New format unfair

The following was sent to the Renton Reporter by the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association Board of Controls:

As tournament fever spikes for high school basketball fans throughout the state of Washington, the regrettable Regional format that has replaced the Classic 16-Team Tournament leaves many basketball players and fans wanting.

Instead of chanting “ON TO STATE” and enjoying the classic 16-team tournament, Regionals cuts short the seasons of 96 boys and girls basketball teams across the state. For a fourth year these 96 teams, about 1,152 players, along with their respective families, fans, cheerleaders, dance/drill teams, and bands are denied the State experience.

These teams, who have played by the WIAA slogan “Just Play Fair” would be happy to just play. The argument that Regionals is somehow a “state” experience rings hollow: a single-elimination evening game in a local high school gym pales in comparison to the promise and excitement of the Big Tournament in Spokane, Yakima, or Tacoma.

The WIAA argues the Regional format is cost and time effective. With half the teams participating, there are lower overhead costs. However, these savings come at a very high price: lost memories, lost dreams and lost learning opportunities for countless young people throughout our state.

As a business, the WIAA has succeeded in growing revenues, but their grade for maximizing educational opportunities is low. The WIAA’s moniker for the 8-team State Tournament is The Hardwood Classic. The new format is not a classic in any traditional or historic sense, but it is certainly a classic example of placing profits before people.

A more appropriate title would be State Lite: Half the tournament, twice the heartache!

WIBCA, Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association, would like to send their sympathies to the following 96 basketball teams whose seasons were cut short of State by the regrettable Regional format that the WIAA has imposed upon the basketball community of this state.

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