The IHSAA Board of Directors and Executive Committee didn’t produce a classification solution for basketball exactly the way I proposed in a column a few weeks ago. I like what is currently proposed nonetheless for not only basketball, but for each four-class-structured IHSAA sport.

The proposed (tabled for decision in June) four-class enrollment structure among the affected sports is as follows:

Class 4A will be comprised of schools whose enrollment equals or exceeds 1,400 students,

Class 3A – 600 to 1,399 students

Class 2A – 325 to 599 students

Class 1A will be home to all schools with enrollment less than or equal to 324 students.

The only area school who would land in a different class in the new structure is Tippecanoe Valley, who would move to Class 2A seated among the top ten in school size. Their current IHSAA classification enrollment base is 561.

Each of the Vikings’ (eventual) new conference members would all be classified in Class 2A in the new structure except for John Glenn (638).

I warmed up to the IHSAA proposal following my deep dive because the increased onus of fighting through larger sectional fields now put upon classes 1A through 3A was like what I proposed.

My biggest beef, the proliferation of small private and charter schools flooding the waters in the lower two enrollment classes and moving affected customary schools in Classes 1A and 2A into higher enrollment classes will be addressed organically if the proposal is approved.

Note the following, tournament success factor class movements notwithstanding:

The largest enrollment class among all the affected sports will be home to 68 schools. This is O.K with me. I wanted 64. I’ll digest 68, I guess.

There are close to two dozen 4A schools in the current format who will move to Class 3A, the first domino in place.

How close can we get to eight-team sectionals in Class 4A, and the play-in based on Sagarin ratings for a handful of big schools?

I’m interested to see how the IHSAA aligns sectionals in the largest enrollment class.

The remaining three classes will exceed 100 schools, with classes 2A and 1A housing at least 110 schools based on the sport. This is also O.K. with me.

The tournaments at these levels will have a robust field of seven or eight schools among 16 classes. This will hopefully eliminate the current five- and six-team sectional fields currently set among all four enrollment classes within each affected sport.

Say “goodbye” to the byes where teams landed into a semifinal for their initial postseason game if this proposal passes.

Classes 1A through 3A sectional hosts will hopefully experience the merits of more robust tournament fields, and this assures almost no repeat of two underperforming teams drawing a bye, and cosnequently landing into a semifinal clash due to the current sectional field sizes.

People are likely to continue their dissatisfaction with the gap between the Class 4A enrollments, from Pendleton Heights’ 1,408 students to the 5,327-student behemoth we know otherwise as Carmel in the meantime.

I’m willing to shift my positions on issues, and I realize my idea of adding a mega-class lacks merit.

The onus of enrollment disparity is on school districts and the state board of education, on the other hand. Should they cap their enrollments to a certain level and subsequently consider an additional high school in their district?

There are many pros and cons to adding high schools to a district. Staffing administrative, certified, and classified/paraprofessional staff is already a challenge throughout the state.

For what it’s worth, Ohio – like Indiana – ended its fiscal year with a budget surplus. Perhaps the means are available for additional schools in Carmel.

I’m still amused with the fact Ohio, whose population exceeds 11 million citizens, has no brick-and-mortar school building with an enrollment greater than 3,500 students, only one school exceeding 3,000 students in fact. Indiana, with roughly 60% of the comparative population, has 15 schools with enrollments greater than Ohio’s second largest high school.

Let’s have a look at a sliver of how an Ohio-based suburban school district manages student enrollment growth.

Dublin (Ohio) Coffman, a perennial football power and alma mater of Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, visited Fisher Field in an August 2021 fray with the Warsaw Tigers.

Dublin Coffman is one of three high schools in the Northwest Columbus suburb whose residents totaled 49,085 students in 2021. Coffman (1,910 students), Jerome (1,563), and Scioto (1,277) total to 4,750 kids from grades 9 through 12.

Carmel, population of nearly 101,000, operates one high school whose enrollment is 577 students greater than Dublin’s three high schools.

People, I have so much unsolicited advice to provide for those solving the world’s problems, but it’s like trying to eat an elephant with a spoon. I can only do it one bite at a time.

The proposed enrollment tranches among Indiana’s four-class prep sports structures are a good start to address the challenge.

Bon Appetit.