COURTSIDE WITH COACH EDMONDS: Should the state finals be moved to high school gyms?

Should the IHSAA consider moving the State Basketball Tournament to High School Gymnasiums?

Now, hear me out before you jump on me for asking this question. I’m all for playing the IHSAA state finals in Bankers Life Fieldhouse as the draw of attracting huge crowds and entire basketball communities to downtown Indianapolis is appealing for many of us fans who love the game.

But from a safety and economical standpoint, would it help or hurt our tournament to have the final in a spacious arena like Bankers Life? Here in our state, we have so many options in regards to gyms (or arenas if you will) that my thought is that we look at several alternative sites to have the finals. 

Being the old traditionalist that I am, I think that having the games at a place like Lafayette Jefferson High School, New Castle High School or collegiate gyms like Hinkle Fieldhouse or Mackey Arena (sorry IU fans the seating in your arena is awful) would be more advantageous and accommodating to schools, fans and those that plan the state tournament and all of its details. 

I guess, my feeling is, once your particular school reaches the pinnacle of high school basketball by reaching the state finals, the schools, players and their communities want to feel connected to the event. Bankers Life separates them with its vastness of an NBA arena feel. Fans want to feel like they are a part of the game and not just there filling a seat watching a game. Going along with this thought, for my game experience I want my popcorn, hotdog and cold Pepsi (or Gatorade) at REGULAR high school prices and not feel that I have to CashApp my concessions to enjoy this great game! 

Indiana basketball is just different in that we are very reluctant to change how things have been – many of us still struggle with four Class final games instead of one state final but that’s another story – so I know that this may be hard to grasp but, with ALL that has happened in the past year…realistically, how many of us thought that we would even HAVE a season this year?

With that thought in mind, let’s mull over the pros and cons of moving the State Finals to a smaller venue at least for this year. We could revisit this again next season as we move towards normalcy (hopefully) in the coming year. Just my thoughts. I’d love to hear your comments!

Keith Edmonds is a 32-year veteran of teaching and school administration from Fort Wayne. He coached boys high school basketball as an assistant at Snider High School, North Side High School and was the head boys basketball coach at Elmhurst High School for 12 years, advancing to the Class 3A State championship in 2003. Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday at Outside the Huddle. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 

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