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decbell1

The IHSAA and damage done

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The damage has obviously been done in regards to the relationship between our little world and the IHSAA. Although a few on this site have expressed their opinions, I still believe a large majority of us 1) Miss the Team State Tournament and 2) Wish we could have improved on what we did have, instead of losing it altogether. 

 

 

My question is (it's the same question that I asked which exploded into class warfare again) this:

 

What can we, as a community, do, in order to repair the relationship between the IHSAA and wrestling coaches/programs in the state of Indiana?

 

 

How do we get them to listen to anything that we have to say? How long did it take them to realize that the scoring they tried to push at Semi-State and Individual state was flat out wrong? They sure didn't listen to our first objections. In fact, it seems to me like they changed it without even asking us. This is just one example in the last 5-10 years. 

 

 

 

 

Thoughts?

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OK, I know this won't make me popular, but facts are facts.

 

As much as people on this board say they want a dual meet tournament, the fact is that when you had one, only a few schools really supported it.

 

And by that, I mean this:

 

Most years, when the tournament was at Center Grove, the stands were full. The IHSAA liked that. But most years, both Evansville Mater Dei and Bellmont were there, and 2/3 of the crowd was from those two schools.

 

Then a strange year came along. I believe it was 2010. And horror of horrors, neither Bellmont or Mater Dei qualified for the meet.

 

And what did the IHSAA discover when they got there? The bleachers were half-empty.  And it was quiet.

 

So, the IHSAA did some investigating, and what they discovered was -- other than the big two -- most teams only brought a couple hundred fans at most to the meet.

 

Some schools barely brought a hundred. I won't name names, but all you had to do was look around and you knew who they were. 

 

So, a light went off in the heads of the IHSAA bigwigs. All of a sudden, they realized that whether they made a profit or not depended entirely on two teams.

 

If there's one thing the IHSAA isn't going to do, it's lose money. And having your gate reliant on the fans from Mater Dei and Bellmont made them squeamish.

 

Second, this investigation also made them realize something that the rest of us already knew:  It was the same teams qualifying year after year.

 

Not entirely, of course. But face it, you knew that Mater Dei was going to be there pretty much every year. And Lawrence North. And Mishawaka or Penn. And Portage or Crown Point.  Yadda yadda yadda.  There were exceptions, but for the most part, it rarely changed. 

 

So what was the motivation for everybody else?

 

Heck, whether you realize it or not, one of the reasons the team semistate was dropped was because the same teams were winning every year. In fact, it got to the point that some schools were sending their jayvee teams to the semistate, because they knew they couldn't win. So they just punted it.  Ask the folks at Bellmont what happened at their semistate one year.

 

So, the IHSAA got the sense that other than the top 8 or 10 programs, nobody really cared about team state, because they knew their schools weren't going to be there.

 

AND, they also saw that most teams that lost in the first round at the team state finals would immediately leave.  If the wrestling was so good and the tournament meant so much to everybody, why didn't the fans stick around and watch, just a little bit.

 

Combine this with the fact that the coaches -- who had begged for the team tournament -- continued to hand out their own championship trophy at the individual state finals. That did NOT go over well at the IHSAA.

 

So the IHSAA said to hell with it, and dropped the tourney.

 

My source for most of this, by the way, is somebody very high up at the IHSAA.  Name rhymes with Rocks.

 

As always, just because I report these things does not mean that I agree with them. But, again, facts are facts.

 

So, be mad at the IHSAA all you want. But while you are doing that, take a look in the mirror. It's a very simple question: In the 17 years of the team state finals, where were you?

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Taking a look at both posts and combining some of the substantive content from both:

 

If there is legitimately widespread interest in an IHSAA sanctioned team state, despite some evidence to the contrary, as can be inferred by sporadic attendance and participation, AND the IHSAA is concerned about profit, then perhaps a focus should be put on making it available online, with quality production values, for a fee. Obviously, someone or some entity has to come up with some capital and a plan, and it HAS to make money. How can this be done? Maybe it's a put up or shut up situation. Schools and their communities that wish to participate have to agree to purchase some combination of gate tickets and online vouchers, perhaps pro-rated by school size. The total number needed could be determined pretty easily, and it likely wouldn't be too onerous for any one school if most or (haha) all schools with wrestling programs participated. This would especially benefit programs at the geographical extremes of the state, as traveling from a far distance adds a lot of cost to potentially interested parties.

Maybe this is too simple, or maybe programs would never agree to commit to investing even a modest sum, but if they aren't willing, then maybe the interest isn't so great. No one is going to come in on a white stallion and rescue this situation. It will take buy-in from the programs, in the form of time and money

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Heck, whether you realize it or not, one of the reasons the team semistate was dropped was because the same teams were winning every year. In fact, it got to the point that some schools were sending their jayvee teams to the semistate, because they knew they couldn't win. So they just punted it. Ask the folks at Bellmont what happened at their semistate one year

 

 

So, be mad at the IHSAA all you want. But while you are doing that, take a look in the mirror. It's a very simple question: In the 17 years of the team state finals, where were you?

 

Just to be clear, I attended every Team State Finals except 1997. I really appreciate the post and it's exactly the kind of discussion I wanted to start. Maybe my Bellmont background schews my whole view of this subject. I still think a classed, all-in team tournament could be profitable, but I could be flat out wrong

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I agree a classed all in team tournament would be awesome.  A couple of things to consider that would be major hurdles-

 

1. Does any other "individual" sport have anything like this?  I don't believe that they do, the IHSAA from what I have been told likes to treat the individual and team sports on sort of the same page.  Maybe we could find another sport with similar circumstances and go in with them?  I don't know enough about the other individual sports to answer that.

 

2. Scheduling- I have seen a few versions of this purposed tournament that could be ran in a week or two, if we could find a version that could be ran and finished in a week, it seems like that could be doable. 

 

3. The cost- I am not sure about the in's and out's of this one, but the IHSAA pays for gas mileage for their tournament events, or something along those lines.  The more IHSAA tournament teams that compete the more they would have to pay, so I assume we would have to prove that this would be very profitable.

 

Good discussion, it would be awesome if we could get this done at some point,

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I have seen this question a few times here and there about the fans and attendance of it.  Let me throw this out there.  How many teams take advantage of home dual meets, or do you just schedule the 4 duals needed and get Saturday tournaments to get as many matches as possible?  I personally love the 1 on 1 duals.  It gives the wrestlers a chance to wrestle in front of their extended families, friends, classmates, teachers and anyone else that may show up. I can count on one hand how many teachers and students show up at a Saturday event.  However at our home duals, even away dual meet, I can count numerous facility that show up, numerous students, and many more fans that I ever see on Saturdays.  There are numerous times during a school day when either a student or another teacher will ask when our next home meet is and it is not fun to reply back with well in a few weeks we have one on Wednesday.  They want to know why we do not have more home meets.  

 

I don't want to put all the blame on coaches but we have to do ourselves a favor as well.  Don't schedule 50-60 matches in a year, and bring some meets to your own place.  I do not mean having a home 6 way on a Saturday, nobody wants to sit there all day.   I am currently at 6 duals for the  year, 3 home and 3 away.  I am pondering on getting out of a tournament to make it 8.  It is a great chance to have good rivalries, with crowds going back and forth.  Obviously they have to be competitive duals at that, nobody wants to see a 70-12 blow out.

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Bobby Cox has commented about the lack of true dual meets. It would not surprise me if they raise the standard to 6 in the near future. The number of two-day events has skyrocketed over the past 10 years also, which is not helping anything. It used to be the only two day events were Connersville, Al Smith, and State. 

 

As far as the IHSAA is concerned, I've said it numerous times, but the IHSWCA needs a better relationship with them. We need our state association to be proactive instead of reactive. We need our association to have more than 50% of the teams as members. The IHSAA will give us warning signs of issues and we need to attack them. They gave us many, many warnings about team state being on the chopping block. When did we FINALLY react? It was after they said it was dead! 

 

The communication within the IHSWCA is pitiful, when was the last time meeting minutes were posted on here? When was the last time any communication was sent to members? The last "IHSWCA" email I got was when Danny Struck was sending a plea for teams for the Jeff Classic. 

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As a 1st year head coach, I don't know much about dealing with the ihsaa. But here's my two cents.

 

First, I think if we want to be fairly certain that we can keep attendance up, we'd need to class the team tournament. Regardless of your position on class wrestling, that will probably be a compromise we'll have to accept to improve revenue for the ihsaa. More teams would likely yield more spectators. Spectators bring the almighty dollar with them.

 

Qualification would probably be the highest placing member of every class of every sectional. Team regional could be the following wednesday with the 3 champions out of each sectional competing against the champs from another. After just one night of the team competition we'd be down to 16 teams per class. Team semistate the following week would again consist of 1 round. Then host team state with the top 8 from each class the Wednesday before semistate.

 

Obviously this format presents similar problems to our previous team state format. Wrestlers don't want to make weight in the middle of the week during tournament time. Give them an additional weight allowance of a pound allowance to ensure they aren't cutting hard in the middle of the week.

 

As for teams that send jv teams to regional or state because they don't feel they can compete, give them the option to opt out, as long as they give ample notice to the alternate team from their sectional/regional. If the team tournament were classed, I don't think you'd have near as many teams wanting to send jv kids because the smaller schools would have the same opportunity to win it. If teams still send jv squads to compete, we could make it mandatory that a certain percentage of your wrestlers competing in the individual tournament would have to compete in the team tournament. Schools that violate this rule could be subject to some sort of postseason penalty the following year. Not ban the team from competing, but perhaps the inability to score team points at sectional the following year. Administrators would likely pressure coaches to compete in the team tournament of it ducking out cost the school concrete athletic success (in the form of a sectional championship) the following year.

 

In addition to proving to the ihsaa that the team tournament would provide enough revenue for them to consider it a success, we would also want to prove that team state is a platform for growing the sport of wrestling in the state. Statistical data from states with a similar demographic as indiana would be needed to show the correlation between team success in the team state tournament and improved numbers in following years. Included could be the fact that 336 wrestlers would be competing at that team state event. How many other sports in Indiana give that many athletes the ability to compete on their sports biggest stage?

 

Most of this has probably been suggested long before it occurred in my adle-brained self. But it seems like a win-win-win-win solution. The ihsaa gets wins by getting it's revenue. Single class enthusiasts keep their individual tournament. Class wrestling proponents get to see teams of all size competing for a state title. And the Indiana wrestling wins by getting it's team tournament back

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As a 1st year head coach, I don't know much about dealing with the ihsaa. But here's my two cents.

 

First, I think if we want to be fairly certain that we can keep attendance up, we'd need to class the team tournament. Regardless of your position on class wrestling, that will probably be a compromise we'll have to accept to improve revenue for the ihsaa. More teams would likely yield more spectators. Spectators bring the almighty dollar with them.

 

Qualification would probably be the highest placing member of every class of every sectional. Team regional could be the following wednesday with the 3 champions out of each sectional competing against the champs from another. After just one night of the team competition we'd be down to 16 teams per class. Team semistate the following week would again consist of 1 round. Then host team state with the top 8 from each class the Wednesday before semistate.

 

Obviously this format presents similar problems to our previous team state format. Wrestlers don't want to make weight in the middle of the week during tournament time. Give them an additional weight allowance of a pound allowance to ensure they aren't cutting hard in the middle of the week.

 

As for teams that send jv teams to regional or state because they don't feel they can compete, give them the option to opt out, as long as they give ample notice to the alternate team from their sectional/regional. If the team tournament were classed, I don't think you'd have near as many teams wanting to send jv kids because the smaller schools would have the same opportunity to win it. If teams still send jv squads to compete, we could make it mandatory that a certain percentage of your wrestlers competing in the individual tournament would have to compete in the team tournament. Schools that violate this rule could be subject to some sort of postseason penalty the following year. Not ban the team from competing, but perhaps the inability to score team points at sectional the following year. Administrators would likely pressure coaches to compete in the team tournament of it ducking out cost the school concrete athletic success (in the form of a sectional championship) the following year.

 

In addition to proving to the ihsaa that the team tournament would provide enough revenue for them to consider it a success, we would also want to prove that team state is a platform for growing the sport of wrestling in the state. Statistical data from states with a similar demographic as indiana would be needed to show the correlation between team success in the team state tournament and improved numbers in following years. Included could be the fact that 336 wrestlers would be competing at that team state event. How many other sports in Indiana give that many athletes the ability to compete on their sports biggest stage?

 

Most of this has probably been suggested long before it occurred in my adle-brained self. But it seems like a win-win-win-win solution. The ihsaa gets wins by getting it's revenue. Single class enthusiasts keep their individual tournament. Class wrestling proponents get to see teams of all size competing for a state title. And the Indiana wrestling wins by getting it's team tournament back

Very well said! 

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I agree a classed all in team tournament would be awesome.  A couple of things to consider that would be major hurdles-

 

1. Does any other "individual" sport have anything like this?  I don't believe that they do, the IHSAA from what I have been told likes to treat the individual and team sports on sort of the same page.  Maybe we could find another sport with similar circumstances and go in with them?  I don't know enough about the other individual sports to answer that.

 

2. Scheduling- I have seen a few versions of this purposed tournament that could be ran in a week or two, if we could find a version that could be ran and finished in a week, it seems like that could be doable. 

 

3. The cost- I am not sure about the in's and out's of this one, but the IHSAA pays for gas mileage for their tournament events, or something along those lines.  The more IHSAA tournament teams that compete the more they would have to pay, so I assume we would have to prove that this would be very profitable.

 

Good discussion, it would be awesome if we could get this done at some point,

One sport that has similar issues is tennis.  The total emphasis on tennis is the team dual format in the ISHAA,   and the individual tournaments  is built into the team state tournament and is really an afterthought and awkward.     It starts out with just the only the #1 singles and doubles only participate in the individual tournament so the remaining 58% of varsity team can't enter.       Since its based on a sectional format,  the top are geographically close to each other and generally in the same sectional.    I know one year the #1 ranked player in the state played the #3 player in the state,  and #3 player lost in a close match and his season was done.   I wont go into details, but Its just a bad format, and essentially a compromise that state does do the one class mantra they have. 

 

I think the current dual state format put on by ISWCA is pretty good and I give kudos to the leadership who was able to pull it off.    Also, it has some very strong positives over the old format.    With very little exception,  you're pulling in the best teams which is what you want.    I would also say that the timing is better in the middle of the season,  and you know who qualified which brings in anticipation and time for fans to schedule to travel to the event.       

 

Just for comparisons sake,  my home state Kansas has never had a team dual championship.   And that's partially due to lack of leadership and cohesion with their state athletic association.   Even though a lot of people want it,  they never had it, and as a result don't see the value in it.

Edited by Wrestling Scholar

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Personally, I think friendofrunningwriter should be nominated for post of the year, if such a thing existed.  He was blunt and honest - warts and all.  Here's the bottom line: Until you can guarantee more than a few teams have a chance to win, and/or give a crap about the team title NOTHING is going to change.  

 

If you have to force teams to not send their JV or stick around to see who wins the title, why bother?

 

In a somewhat subconscious way, I think class wrestling is being used as a solution to apathy or a cure for all of wrestling's "ills." More opportunities for kids is never a bad thing, but wrestling has and always be a tough sell; it's an acquired taste and it's not for everybody.  

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IndianaMat's relationship with the IHSWCA could stand to be better.

That has NOTHING to do with team state. Plus someone needs to be able to be vocal about their shortcomings. I was a regional rep for a couple years and felt that nothing was getting done and it was a waste of my time to go to Indy once a month for a free lunch.

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Qualification would probably be the highest placing member of every class of every sectional. Team regional could be the following wednesday with the 3 champions out of each sectional competing against the champs from another. After just one night of the team competition we'd be down to 16 teams per class. Team semistate the following week would again consist of 1 round. Then host team state with the top 8 from each class the Wednesday before semistate.

 

So Team Regionals would be the Wednesday before Regionals... Team Semi State the following week (The week of Semi State)... And Team State the Wednesday of Semi State...

 

Are you saying Team Semi State and Team State would take place the same week (week of semi state), leaving only 3 practices before semi state for those teams who qualify for team state??

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That has NOTHING to do with team state. Plus someone needs to be able to be vocal about their shortcomings. I was a regional rep for a couple years and felt that nothing was getting done and it was a waste of my time to go to Indy once a month for a free lunch.

I don't disagree with you that IndianaMat's relationship has nothing to do with team state.  In reference to this thread, I find it odd that you are commenting about the poor relationship between IHSWCA and IHSAA while you take stabs at the IHSWCA whenever possible.  I will admit that I have no idea what your private conversations are like with leadership of IHSWCA. In my opinion, your approach to criticism of them on your website is derogatory and not helpful and spreads a negative perception of an organization that you complain that has only 50% membership.  How are you helping to boost membership that you are complaining about?  It's more about the tone in which you decide to be vocal than the fact that you are vocal about their shortcomings.

Edited by bwoodjc89

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IndianaMat's relationship with the IHSWCA could stand to be better.

I think the ISHAA board is not really that concerned about what happens on Indianamat or the opionion of its owner.   I think they have a different perspective that is much broader than wrestling and the wrestling community is just a very small less relevant constituency.    And they could surmise that in talk forums like this there is a lot of criticsm of their decisions, and they don't really give a damn and only care about the information presented to them in their formal meeting format.   If they were aware enough to get on the site, I think they might see the passion and concern and would be more receptive to the requests from the wrestling community.

 

Edited by Wrestling Scholar

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I don't disagree with you that IndianaMat's relationship has nothing to do with team state.  In reference to this thread, I find it odd that you are commenting about the poor relationship between IHSWCA and IHSAA while you take stabs at the IHSWCA whenever possible.  I will admit that I have no idea what your private conversations are like with leadership of IHSWCA. In my opinion, your approach to criticism of them on your website is derogatory and not helpful and spreads a negative perception of an organization that you complain that has only 50% membership.  How are you helping to boost membership that you are complaining about?  It's more about the tone in which you decide to be vocal than the fact that you are vocal about their shortcomings.

The IHSWCA is our voice to the IHSAA. If our voice is weak we cannot improve the sport. I am very vocal about it because we need a strong voice for our sport with the IHSAA. Whether it's wrestle-backs, class wrestling, team state, or even something simple like updating sectional seeding criteria a weak voice will not help us achieve our goals for this sport.

 

When past presidents are regulars in the IHSAA Police Blotter, it does not help our sport. We need to look at our IHSWCA leadership and make sure it is sound and with that we can get things accomplished within the IHSAA.

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The IHSWCA is our voice to the IHSAA. If our voice is weak we cannot improve the sport. I am very vocal about it because we need a strong voice for our sport with the IHSAA. Whether it's wrestle-backs, class wrestling, team state, or even something simple like updating sectional seeding criteria a weak voice will not help us achieve our goals for this sport.

 

When past presidents are regulars in the IHSAA Police Blotter, it does not help our sport. We need to look at our IHSWCA leadership and make sure it is sound and with that we can get things accomplished within the IHSAA.

I can get behind this. Thanks.

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So Team Regionals would be the Wednesday before Regionals... Team Semi State the following week (The week of Semi State)... And Team State the Wednesday of Semi State...

 

Are you saying Team Semi State and Team State would take place the same week (week of semi state), leaving only 3 practices before semi state for those teams who qualify for team state??

No, I just need to improve my proof reading skills. Team ss the Wednesday before ss and team state the Wednesday before state was my original intended message. I honestly hadn't considered that leaving only 3 practices the week of state. I was mostly just spit balling ideas

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No, I just need to improve my proof reading skills. Team ss the Wednesday before ss and team state the Wednesday before state was my original intended message. I honestly hadn't considered that leaving only 3 practices the week of state. I was mostly just spit balling ideas

 

All Good, just was kind of confused myself!

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As you may have guessed, I am a fan of MD wrestling.  I have been to several wrestling tournaments and dual meets this year.  Attendance at these events has been dropping steadily over the past 10 years.  At the MD vs Reitz meet, the gym was at best half full.  The reserve match had 3 matches actually wrestled.  between the forfeits from both teams, only 3 matches.  Unless more people start attending wrestling competitions, we will never get IHSAA team state back.

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Elementary wrestling programs with involved and motivated parents would help tremendously in my opinion. Most kids don't even know about wrestling until 6th grade when the middle schools let everyone know that it's an option. By this time football,baseball,soccer, and basketball have already become staples in the family routine. Every community needs a family or two to take charge and start recruiting which will need passed on every few years as their kids move on to the next level. Giving back to the community has to be the goal or wrestling Will eventually be cut from our children's list of options by the powers that be. Every sport that my kids have been involved in there were always a volunteer coach/dad our group of dads driving the whole thing not the organization. Everything in wrestling is geared towards individualism which is why I love it but you can only have 14 champs. The individual in season tourneys are awesome but not promoting the team aspect as well as the other sports. All dual meets all the time with an individual tournament after the team dual states might work but who knows? It's fun to talk about all the great things that it could be and we will never make everyone happy. I just hate to see the end of the greatest sport ever continue it's slow slide into obscurity. Hopefully not in my lifetime but it's coming. The team aspect seems like a good idea to me. I'm sure that you Will let me know where I'm wrong but I love the discussion.

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As you may have guessed, I am a fan of MD wrestling.  I have been to several wrestling tournaments and dual meets this year.  Attendance at these events has been dropping steadily over the past 10 years.  At the MD vs Reitz meet, the gym was at best half full.  The reserve match had 3 matches actually wrestled.  between the forfeits from both teams, only 3 matches.  Unless more people start attending wrestling competitions, we will never get IHSAA team state back.

 

85-

 

i agree, the crowd was definitely down.  md's crowd was smaller; reitz only had about 30 fans.  to large degree, the attendance was due to the lack of competitiveness of the dual.  in 2012 and 2013, the meets were very competitive and the stands were full.

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Not just that event.  SIAC tournament was WAYYY down on attendance.  Normally the lower level on the score table side is packed.  Could have sat there or laid out and taken a nap.

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Bobby Cox has commented about the lack of true dual meets. It would not surprise me if they raise the standard to 6 in the near future. The number of two-day events has skyrocketed over the past 10 years also, which is not helping anything. It used to be the only two day events were Connersville, Al Smith, and State. 

 

As far as the IHSAA is concerned, I've said it numerous times, but the IHSWCA needs a better relationship with them. We need our state association to be proactive instead of reactive. We need our association to have more than 50% of the teams as members. The IHSAA will give us warning signs of issues and we need to attack them. They gave us many, many warnings about team state being on the chopping block. When did we FINALLY react? It was after they said it was dead! 

 

The communication within the IHSWCA is pitiful, when was the last time meeting minutes were posted on here? When was the last time any communication was sent to members? The last "IHSWCA" email I got was when Danny Struck was sending a plea for teams for the Jeff Classic. 

Just curious...why dont you run for President of the IHSWCA?  You seem to have the answers and the strong voice? 

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