Proposal again aims to extend state tournament

mhsaa logo, no bkgdBY BRANDON SPECK

Baldwyn hasn’t had any trouble getting to the MHSAA state basketball tournament. Jason McKay led the Bearcats to the Class 2A championship in March.

Now, he wants more players to have the state tournament experience.

For the third straight year, McKay is proposing to extend the state tournament from two teams each to four each for the North and South. It was voted down by one vote last year in the MHSAA executive meeting. It passed the District 1 coaches meeting Wednesday in Belden and will again be on the executive agenda in October.

Before the switch to two teams, three teams each from the North and South qualified for the state tournament. The third team had to win an elimination game to qualify.

“Anytime you have an opportunity to be involved in the state tournament, that is a memory that is a positive for a lifetime that you carry with you,” McKay said. “It’s nothing but positive for more teams going.”
McKay would like to see four teams in Classes 1A-4A advance, three from 5A and 6A. It would eliminate North and South tournaments, though there would still be a version, all at host top seeds following division tournaments.

Division tournaments would seed the top four teams. Top seeds would host until four advance to Jackson.

It would eliminate games between two teams at sites that no longer have a team playing, but would also present scheduling issues – times and locations – with 96 boys and girls teams going to a potential two-week state tournament.

The proposal would have to pass in October, then again in Fedruary. If so, it would go into effect for 2014-15. MHSAA executive director Don Hinton said different formats have been looked at in case it passes.

“Our basketball coaches have been very passionate about changing our current policy,” Hinton said. “We’ll see how that goes.”

Principals and administrators would also have the issue of students missing classes, but the location of the larger tournament may be the biggest hurdle to jump.

McKay said coaches are willing to make compromises – even if it means playing at 9 a.m. – to see it happen.

“There’s a discussion that different parts of the state is where it would be. I think, as coaches, we’ve got to have confidence in the MHSAA that they will find the format and places,” McKay said. “Hopefully Jackson is part of that.”

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