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New basketball format shot down

04/06/2012, 11:33am CDT
By DAVID LA VAQUE, Star Tribune

A proposal designed to competitively balance sections via seeding was soundly defeated.

Proponents of a bringing an NCAA-like format to the state's high school basketball playoffs had their brackets busted.

The proposal, which seeks better competitive balance in the Class 4A boys' and girls' basketball section playoffs through a comprehensive rating system, was rejected by a nearly unanimous voice vote at Thursday's Minnesota State High School League Board of Directors meeting.

Members of the 20-person board voiced concerns about making competitive balance more of a priority than geographic representation. They also worried about opening the door for other sports to request similar changes. Only Edina activities director John Soma voted in favor.

"Obviously, I'm very disappointed," said Tom Critchley, executive director of the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association and Roseville boys' basketball assistant coach.

In the proposal drawn up by Ryan Weinzierl of Moorhead, creator of the Quality Results Formula the high school league adapted last year as the official formula to seed section tournaments, a committee would rank all Class 4A teams. The intent is to establish eight No. 1 seeds.

Critchley requested Thursday that the board approve a two-year trial for the new format. He said the change was "favored by over 70 percent of the [Class 4A] coaches."

Critchley, who singled out Soma for having "the courage to make a change,'' said he had no immediate plans to modify the current proposal.

"I don't think there is anything that can come forward [unless] maybe down the line the board membership changes enough," Critchley said.

Other board action

• Seeding more than four state tournament qualifying teams was tabled until June's board meeting. MSHSL Executive Director Dave Stead said the board would only consider seeding a fifth team, not all eight.

• Double-elimination section playoff games in baseball and softball would start when the field reaches eight teams rather than four, beginning in 2013.

• Starting this fall, the top eight cross-country runners not on one of the top two teams in each section will qualify for the state meet. Previously, only the top 10 overall runners in each section advanced.

• Class 1A boys' swimming expands from four to six sections for 2012-13.

• The board approved an athlete's request to relinquish a medal won at a state competition. The league did not identify the individual, sport or school. Other medal winners will each move up one place.

• A bylaw was amended to give the league more authority when a student denies violating a league rule and is later found to have violated it. The change means the student ''shall forfeit any honors won as an individual" subsequent to the violation.

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