Basketball tournaments to see format change

The high school boys and girls basketball tournaments will look a little different beyond the sectional rounds beginning next year.

The IHSAA executive committee voted 15-2 Thursday to switch the regional round to one game and the semistate round to two games, the format that was in place from 1998-2001. Since 2002, the regional round has been two games, and the semistate has been one game.

“We really like the potential of a high-energy atmosphere at the semi-state level with a chance to advance to the state championship games the following week at Gainbridge Fieldhouse, the home of the Pacers and Fever,” IHSAA commissioner Paul Neidig said in a news release. “This new format will double the number of teams who play a week longer in the tournament and should create a lot of excitement in those communities and will be financially beneficial for those communities that serve as host sites.”

Neidig surveyed the state’s principals, athletics directors and boys and girls basketball coaches this spring, and 73.4 percent of the 781 who responded were in favor of the change.

Regional pairings will be announced at the same time as the sectional pairings. Semistate pairings will be announced the day after the regional round is completed.

Also Thursday, the IHSAA executive committee voted to allow in all sports, schools to compete against teams beyond 300 miles, as long as the contest is within 300 miles of the state border and the opposing school is in good standing with its state association. Previously, schools were limited to competing against schools within 300 miles of the state border.