By Phil Brozynski
What part of this is good for the kids?
Representatives of the Illinois High School Association like to say that everything they do is “all about the kids.” They expanded volleyball to four classes this fall so they can hand out two more “championship” trophies. It was “all about the kids.”
But on August 6, the IHSA Board of Directors approved changes in the structure of the girls volleyball tournament that forces teams to play both the semifinals and finals of regional and sectional tournaments on the same day.
The new four-class format has already angered some coaches, players and fans who were under the impression that four classes would mean more teams would be represented at the state tournament.
However, rather than bring 32 teams to Illinois State University’s Redbird Arena and host four eight-team tournaments, the IHSA will bring only 16 teams and conduct four “mini-state” tournaments.
Now this latest move, which means that all four classes would play sectional semifinals at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 1 with a championship match at 7:15 p.m. The team that wins the 6:00 p.m. semifinal would have 15 minutes of rest before going back on the court.
Neither team would have the chance to scout or prepare. A team could play a grueling three-set second semifinal and have to retake the court in a matter of minutes. If both matches go three games, the championship match could conceivably end well past 11:00 p.m.
Of course, the argument will be made that the schedule was changed to mitigate travel. But it makes you wonder if the IHSA will impose the same schedule on basketball, where similar travel issues will apply. Or are not all sports treated equally?
And it makes you wonder what part of that is good for the kids?