Apr 19, 2011Washington State Changes Playoff Format, Angers Some Coaches
RENTON — Tim Kelly calls it shocking. Jade Hayes says it’s a punch in the stomach.
Neither coach is happy to see the first round of the state high-school basketball tournaments become single elimination in 2012 and remain at regional sites, after voting by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Executive Board Monday.
“We’re all shocked, said Kelly, boys coach at Curtis High School in University Place and past president of the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association. It seems like they made it worse … There’s going to be a lot of coaches up in arms.”
Hayes, girls coach at Bellevue Christian and representative for the state’s girls coaches, said she is not surprised by the decision, but “very disappointed.”
“I kind of feel like I got punched in the gut a little bit, she said. This is so wrong for kids.”
Both had been involved in meetings between coaches and WIAA staff to discuss concerns about changes to this year’s tournaments and possible solutions.
“I thought they were on the same page with us, Kelly said of the WIAA. That’s why it’s shocking to us.”
Coaches had hoped to see a return to the 16-team, one-site tournament format, even if it meant single elimination in the first round.
That was among five format options the Executive Board considered. Several members voiced concern about increased costs to schools along with additional missed classes for players and coaches.
This year, the Tacoma Dome, Yakima SunDome and Spokane Arena each hosted a pair of eight-team, three-day tournaments — for example, Class 4A and 3A boys and girls tournaments were both in Tacoma. To add first-round games at the same site for a 16-team tournament, games would have to start as early in the week as Tuesday.
In 2012, each classification (4A, 3A, 2A, etc.) will continue to get 16 state-playoff teams, but first-round games will be called regionals. Regional boys games will be on a Friday, and girls games on Saturday. The eight-team state tournaments will be the following week.
Unlike this year, when some schools had two chances to advance if they lost their “first-round” game, the regional games will be single elimination.