State oversaturation

I am at one of the EIGHT Kansas high school basketball state tournaments right now.

Let that sink in. 

A state with a population of less than three million, with less than 360 high schools, has EIGHT basketball divisions. 

That is beyond silly. It is uttelry asinine. 

There is no need for a state with less than 400 schools to have any more than six classifications. Acutally, FOUR would be plenty. I could live with five. 

There were only four classifications from 1952 through 1968. From ’52 through ’62, any school with 475 or more students was in Class AA, the highest; 151 to 475 in Class A; 61 to 150 in B; and all others in BB. 

The dividing lines changed prior to the ’63 basketball season. It was 56 in AA, 64 in A, the next 224 in B, and the rest in BB. 

From 1969 through 1978, when the Kansas State High School Activities Association had closer to 500 schools, there were only five classifications. 

A sixth classification was added in 1979, and it stayed at six through 2010. 

Class 1A, the smallest classification, voted in 2008 to split into separate divisions for basketball, volleyball and scholar’s bowl (quiz bowl). The Class 1A schools felt they were at a competitive disadvantage becuase they had to go through regional tournaments prior to the sub-state round. 

With 1A split into two divisions, there have been many more mediocre to downright bad teams playing in stsate tournaments. I’m sorry, but teams which go 6-14 in the regular seaon should not be playing in a state tournament, I don’t care what kind of Cinderella story it is. There ought to be a rule for sub-state that teams with fewer than eight wins in the regular season cannot play. Period. 

In 2013, the Claas 4A schools moaned and griped about the gross disparity between the top of the classification and the bottom. So most of the 4A schools voted to split into two divisions for basketball, vollyeball, football, baseball and softball. 

Class 5A and 6A have had the problem with mediocrity in state tournaents for years, since there are only 32 teams in each classification, and each sub-state is only four teams. 

State tournament should be reserved for the best of the best. I would like to see four classifications, which would mean 88 or 89 schools in each. That would mean only the top 10 percent, or slightly less, would go to state. What’s wrong with that? 

Oh, i forgot. We live in the touchy-feely world of the 21st century, where everyone has to have a medal and we need to make sure nobody’s feelings get hurt. So what if your high school basketball team goes 0-21? If that’s the worst thing that happens to a person, he or she is living a pretty darn good life. 

About David

I am a sportswriter for a group of weekly newspapers in small towns across northern Kansas. I grew up in New Orleans, went to college at LSU and wandered in the wilderness until Hurricane Katrina finally put me on the path to my current job.

Posted on March 11, 2015, in Basketball, KSHSAA and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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