Taking on basketball

The Buzz on Class B.
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Taking on basketball

Postby heimer » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:28 pm

This will upset many, and I'll be labeled a hundred different things, all of which are false, and I really don't care. If the mods don't like it, they can take it down and censor me. If you don't like it, respond. Whatever floats your boat.

Last things first: The Mr. and Miss Basketball awards are a complete joke. I understand the desire to honor a player's achievements, but the current award structure in ND is a complete mess. First, the award lumps all of the Class A and B players together, when no one voting will ever put the effort into seeing them all in action, television won't allow us to see all of them in action, and they never play each other or similar teams for an accurate comparison. To lump them all together is an impossible task, one that sets the award up for failure.

Next on this topic, the selection criteria is ambiguous at best. To me, there is a difference between Mr. or Miss Basketball, and what we would consider to be a traditional "Player of the Year" award. The title of Mr. or Miss Basketball, IMO, means that everything you do throughout your career exemplifies the best that high school basketball has to offer in our state. That means more than stats. What are you like in the classroom? What other activities are you in? What do you do in your community. To me, all of these should come into play. Yes, basketball performance should be first and foremost in the recipe, but if you're going to take the label of a person that represents basketball in the state, you should truly represent everything we celebrate about the high school game, and many of the things I mentioned are included in our expectations of high-performing student-athletes.

Solution: Award a Mr. and Miss Basketball for all classes, and also award a Player of the Year for all classes. Does it water down the award? Possibly, but I think it would be a heck of a lot better than trying to compare a Dickinson player with a Midway-Minto player or a Standing Rock player with a Grand Forks Central player, when there really is no basis for comparison whatsoever.

Make those in the running for Mr. and Miss Basketball list their accomplishments on and off the floor and have a selection process. Player of the Year is the best player this season on the floor, and it does not have to be a senior. Mr. and Miss Basketball must be a senior, as they will "run" on their record of their entire career.

Okay, moving on.

This was, quite frankly, the worst season of Class B basketball in a long time, perhaps ever in the modern era. Districts with six teams sending four to regionals, three privates in the boys state field, and girls state games that had a hard time surpassing regional qualifiers in quality. The changes the state made landed with a thud.

Meanwhile, Class A continued it's stagnant state tournament. No excitement or atmosphere for just another tournament after basically all the teams played each other a week ago. The boys tournament saw three WDA teams advance to the semi-finals, and the girls saw all east semis and all west consolation. Basically, a true disaster.

I've been accused of being a "glass is empty when it's half-full" guy. I'll own that, because I see trend, not just the present. This is the first year that Class A regionals began to rival B states for attendance. The B boys attendance was off, the B girls was hideous, and the flip of the seasons probably didn't help.

Solutions:

First, put the seasons back the way they were. This idea that girls volleyball players need the extra time to get ready is a joke. Football players play a much more physical game, and those that are Class B players get the least amount of recovery time. The switch of seasons did nothing for attendance at state B girls. If we have to, start volleyball earlier in the fall, and flip the weekends of volleyball and football finals. Yes, I know that runs the risk of one more week of bad weather. If we need to, start both seasons at the same time, and give the football players an extra week off between semis and finals.

Second, I'm sorry, but if there was ever a call for a three-class system, now is the time, and I'll take it even if Valley City stays A and sees no difference in competition. There's no denying that, whether it's recruiting or kids wanting to "take their talent to South Beach", the privates have a considerable advantage over the rest of Class B schools, and they should be in a different class. Some of the bigger Bs should be there as well. For every Grafton, Central Cass, Fargo Oak Grove, Dickinson Trinity, Minot Ryan, and Carrington in a state tournament, there are smaller schools that were defeated in the first round of regionals, the semis, and the finals. There's little to stop these teams from advancing back to where they were this year next year. Sure, a team or two will have to reload, but who will replace them? Likely another of the same team in their region.

If the classes are AA, A, and B, then play a state tournament schedule AA and A girls first together first, AA and A boys together second, and B boys and girls last. Require the TV contract to air the semifinals, third place and final games of all three classes. With the shakup of classes, it's doubtful that the B boys and girls could not be held in one place together. Permanently locate the B girls and boys in Bismarck, as those teams would likely have, in any given year, the highest travel burdens. The other two tournaments become revenue tournaments, and could be rotated as currently takes place. If the B boys went off with all the oil activity in Minot sopping up rooms, then Bismarck has enough rooms for a new-look B boys and girls combined. All three tournaments would make money and be well attended.

One class is nice, but there's one huge flaw. With only one tournament, there's not enough revenue to run what the NDHSAA has to run. That's a problem, and there's not enough teams out there to fix it through additional regional tournaments.

The quality was down, the participation was down, the fan turnout was down, and the media attention was down. Let the nay-sayers start picking it apart, but the trend of quality, participation, fan turnout, and media attention cannot be ignored. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward, and the status quo won't do.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Indy5 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:47 pm

Heimer, I actually agree with all your points, except for Mr. and Miss Basketball being open to all classes, I think it should be the overall best career player in the state. Is it hard to compare, yes, but it still can be done.

Second, we don't need 3 classes. Privates don't recruit at all and this year was a big exception to what normally happens. Typically, there aren't 3 privates at state.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Run4Fun2009 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:58 pm

Indy5 wrote:Heimer, I actually agree with all your points, except for Mr. and Miss Basketball being open to all classes, I think it should be the overall best career player in the state. Is it hard to compare, yes, but it still can be done.

Second, we don't need 3 classes. Privates don't recruit at all and this year was a big exception to what normally happens. Typically, there aren't 3 privates at state.


Next year there probably won't be any.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby EHS1998 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:07 pm

Heimer - Thanks for your thoughts. Remarkably, I do not fundamentally disagree with any of your points. I am most interested in the argument for a Three Class System.

I definately agree that it is time for this, but unfortunately, there are far too many ADs who are comfortable with the status quo and their inherent competitive advantage to let this change occur. Generally, it seems that they are happy with schools like Valley City being at a competitive disadvantage in Class A and smaller Class B schools being at the mercy of larger B schools and the Privates. I dont understand the reluctance to pursue a three class system and this is the only rationale I can come up with to reasonably explain it. I do appreciate you bringing these topics to light.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Run4Fun2009 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:18 pm

I don't disagree with many of your points...just the three class system...Maybe I'm afraid of change; but I don't see it changing any time soon.

I do agree though that we need to determine what Mr./Ms. Basketball is nowadays...we need a clearer definition.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby heimer » Wed Mar 23, 2011 1:47 pm

E, they are not happy, satisfied (insert favorite adjective here), with the system, they just haven't found a comfortable alternative, and it has everything to do with everything that shouldn't matter: TV.

The TV networks have held the NDHSAA by the you-know-whats, threatening to not air the small school tourney if they go to three classes. If you dig, you will find this to be true. I have it on the record, using those journalist skills that I do have. They are just exercised sparingly in the name of pi$$ing people off.

I fully believe that if TV weren't an issue, we'd have had the three-class system already.

We can have these tournaments at one location. And we don't need two gyms. It makes it more comfortable, but we don't need two. I was just at the national tournament for VCSU, and they played eight games a day on one floor the first three days, and they were only 20 minutes behind schedule at the end of the day, and that was with the parade of athletes for 32 teams put in the middle.

How did they do it?: They used the 10-minute halftime as warm-up time for the two teams that were to play next, and they cut the warm-up time to 10 minutes after the game was completed. Yes, they did start games at 9:00 a.m. They had to. But, using this approach, everyone would get to play a game on the "big floor" at a two-floor location, and we could move the next day to a staggered start to allow the semi-finals and finals to be played at regular times. If the wrestlers, and track athletes, and regular season volleyball tournaments can start games/matches/competition at 9 a.m., we can do it for basketball for one day to allow the teams to all play a game on the "big floor" and then keep the semis and finals there.

These are the changes that scare so many away from the three-class system. But seriously, if we keep giving TV products like we gave it this year, there will come a time that they won't even be interested in airing the tournaments. The product has to improve.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby EHS1998 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 2:01 pm

Thanks for the insight. I did not understand that TV was such a significant driver. It makes sense as you have laid it out, but you are right, it shouldnt matter.

Heimer - There is absolutely no question about your talents. We may have disagreed in the past (and gotten personal, for my part, I apologize) and are certain to in the future, but that doesnt change the fact that you are very skilled at what you do and that you truly care about the kids you cover. I have to respect that.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby GRIDIRON GURU » Wed Mar 23, 2011 4:50 pm

Since we are talking about a fantacy world how about moving Girls basketball back to the Fall!!!

Then we can have a three class basketball tournement

Parents who have a son and a daughter playing basketball can watch them play.

No fight for gym time for youth through varsity

No fight for fan support, fans and community are going to go watch the team that is better.

I took tickets at a few basketball games this year, 300 dollars for a home girls basketball game, 1600 dollars for a home boys basketball game. If the girls game was in the fall with no conflicts = more revenue

Only have to schedule around one game on friday night in the fall.

Hot cheerleaders for boys Basketball.

No storm outs, for girls basketball in the fall, safer travel, less fuel, don't have to let the bus run all night.

You can play jr high through varsity on the same night, your whole family can be there.

Oh and the most important thing hot cheerleaders for boys basketball.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Indy5 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:19 pm

GRIDIRON GURU wrote:Since we are talking about a fantacy world how about moving Girls basketball back to the Fall!!!

Then we can have a three class basketball tournement

Parents who have a son and a daughter playing basketball can watch them play.

No fight for gym time for youth through varsity

No fight for fan support, fans and community are going to go watch the team that is better.

I took tickets at a few basketball games this year, 300 dollars for a home girls basketball game, 1600 dollars for a home boys basketball game. If the girls game was in the fall with no conflicts = more revenue

Only have to schedule around one game on friday night in the fall.

Hot cheerleaders for boys Basketball.

No storm outs, for girls basketball in the fall, safer travel, less fuel, don't have to let the bus run all night.

You can play jr high through varsity on the same night, your whole family can be there.

Oh and the most important thing hot cheerleaders for boys basketball.

I imagine this move would require volleyball to be in the winter, so there would still be a gym space issue there.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Indy5 » Wed Mar 23, 2011 7:20 pm

heimer wrote:The TV networks have held the NDHSAA by the you-know-whats, threatening to not air the small school tourney if they go to three classes. If you dig, you will find this to be true. I have it on the record, using those journalist skills that I do have. They are just exercised sparingly in the name of pi$$ing people off.

:lol: :lol: Heimer, I love how you admit that your journalist skills are used sparingly.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby GRIDIRON GURU » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:22 am

"I imagine this move would require volleyball to be in the winter, so there would still be a gym space issue there."

You have to realize I am talking about a fantacy world where there is no volleyball.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Run4Fun2009 » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:29 am

GRIDIRON GURU wrote:"I imagine this move would require volleyball to be in the winter, so there would still be a gym space issue there."

You have to realize I am talking about a fantacy world where there is no volleyball.


why take away the best spectator sport :wink:
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby ndlionsfan » Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:56 pm

I agree that girls bball should be moved back to the fall. It has been a disaster to that sport (participation and fan base) by moving it to winter. If not, at least switch the seasons back and make some changes to the vball and fball schedule to make it work for the girls. Switching the seasons will be catastrophic for the girls. I'm a big bball fan, but only watched two games after the boys state B was done. It just felt to me that the bball seasons were over and I forgot all about the girls. Only two games I saw were the Carrington semifinal and championships...the state tourney didn't even peak my interest.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby nodaker » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:12 pm

ndlionsfan wrote:I agree that girls bball should be moved back to the fall. It has been a disaster to that sport (participation and fan base) by moving it to winter. If not, at least switch the seasons back and make some changes to the vball and fball schedule to make it work for the girls. Switching the seasons will be catastrophic for the girls. I'm a big bball fan, but only watched two games after the boys state B was done. It just felt to me that the bball seasons were over and I forgot all about the girls. Only two games I saw were the Carrington semifinal and championships...the state tourney didn't even peak my interest.


I agree 100%
I'm old and showing signs of "old-timers" disease. Atleast thats what the wife says. I think it was her.....anyways, what year did they move the girls to winter? I cant remember.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby ndlionsfan » Thu Mar 24, 2011 10:34 pm

I think it was somewhere around 2002-2003. Hard to believe its been that long already.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Bisonguy06 » Tue Apr 19, 2011 8:59 pm

heimer wrote:This will upset many, and I'll be labeled a hundred different things, all of which are false, and I really don't care. If the mods don't like it, they can take it down and censor me. If you don't like it, respond. Whatever floats your boat.

Last things first: The Mr. and Miss Basketball awards are a complete joke. I understand the desire to honor a player's achievements, but the current award structure in ND is a complete mess. First, the award lumps all of the Class A and B players together, when no one voting will ever put the effort into seeing them all in action, television won't allow us to see all of them in action, and they never play each other or similar teams for an accurate comparison. To lump them all together is an impossible task, one that sets the award up for failure.

Next on this topic, the selection criteria is ambiguous at best. To me, there is a difference between Mr. or Miss Basketball, and what we would consider to be a traditional "Player of the Year" award. The title of Mr. or Miss Basketball, IMO, means that everything you do throughout your career exemplifies the best that high school basketball has to offer in our state. That means more than stats. What are you like in the classroom? What other activities are you in? What do you do in your community. To me, all of these should come into play. Yes, basketball performance should be first and foremost in the recipe, but if you're going to take the label of a person that represents basketball in the state, you should truly represent everything we celebrate about the high school game, and many of the things I mentioned are included in our expectations of high-performing student-athletes.

Solution: Award a Mr. and Miss Basketball for all classes, and also award a Player of the Year for all classes. Does it water down the award? Possibly, but I think it would be a heck of a lot better than trying to compare a Dickinson player with a Midway-Minto player or a Standing Rock player with a Grand Forks Central player, when there really is no basis for comparison whatsoever.

Make those in the running for Mr. and Miss Basketball list their accomplishments on and off the floor and have a selection process. Player of the Year is the best player this season on the floor, and it does not have to be a senior. Mr. and Miss Basketball must be a senior, as they will "run" on their record of their entire career.

Okay, moving on.

This was, quite frankly, the worst season of Class B basketball in a long time, perhaps ever in the modern era. Districts with six teams sending four to regionals, three privates in the boys state field, and girls state games that had a hard time surpassing regional qualifiers in quality. The changes the state made landed with a thud.

Meanwhile, Class A continued it's stagnant state tournament. No excitement or atmosphere for just another tournament after basically all the teams played each other a week ago. The boys tournament saw three WDA teams advance to the semi-finals, and the girls saw all east semis and all west consolation. Basically, a true disaster.

I've been accused of being a "glass is empty when it's half-full" guy. I'll own that, because I see trend, not just the present. This is the first year that Class A regionals began to rival B states for attendance. The B boys attendance was off, the B girls was hideous, and the flip of the seasons probably didn't help.

Solutions:

First, put the seasons back the way they were. This idea that girls volleyball players need the extra time to get ready is a joke. Football players play a much more physical game, and those that are Class B players get the least amount of recovery time. The switch of seasons did nothing for attendance at state B girls. If we have to, start volleyball earlier in the fall, and flip the weekends of volleyball and football finals. Yes, I know that runs the risk of one more week of bad weather. If we need to, start both seasons at the same time, and give the football players an extra week off between semis and finals.

Second, I'm sorry, but if there was ever a call for a three-class system, now is the time, and I'll take it even if Valley City stays A and sees no difference in competition. There's no denying that, whether it's recruiting or kids wanting to "take their talent to South Beach", the privates have a considerable advantage over the rest of Class B schools, and they should be in a different class. Some of the bigger Bs should be there as well. For every Grafton, Central Cass, Fargo Oak Grove, Dickinson Trinity, Minot Ryan, and Carrington in a state tournament, there are smaller schools that were defeated in the first round of regionals, the semis, and the finals. There's little to stop these teams from advancing back to where they were this year next year. Sure, a team or two will have to reload, but who will replace them? Likely another of the same team in their region.

If the classes are AA, A, and B, then play a state tournament schedule AA and A girls first together first, AA and A boys together second, and B boys and girls last. Require the TV contract to air the semifinals, third place and final games of all three classes. With the shakup of classes, it's doubtful that the B boys and girls could not be held in one place together. Permanently locate the B girls and boys in Bismarck, as those teams would likely have, in any given year, the highest travel burdens. The other two tournaments become revenue tournaments, and could be rotated as currently takes place. If the B boys went off with all the oil activity in Minot sopping up rooms, then Bismarck has enough rooms for a new-look B boys and girls combined. All three tournaments would make money and be well attended.

One class is nice, but there's one huge flaw. With only one tournament, there's not enough revenue to run what the NDHSAA has to run. That's a problem, and there's not enough teams out there to fix it through additional regional tournaments.

The quality was down, the participation was down, the fan turnout was down, and the media attention was down. Let the nay-sayers start picking it apart, but the trend of quality, participation, fan turnout, and media attention cannot be ignored. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward, and the status quo won't do.


There's a lot of truth in what you are saying heimer, but you are putting the 'B' up against impossible expectations. You're demanding that the 'B' lives up to its glory days of 20+ years ago, which will never happen again.

You claim to see trends that we are missing? Here's a trend that has been true for the last two generations in North Dakota and will be true for the next two - rural depopulation.

Your North Dakota town (and corresponding school district) will continue to shrink unless you fit one of these three exceptions:
1) Communities in the Fargo/Bismarck/Grand Forks/Minot metro areas
2) Communities on Native American reservations
3) Oil boom communities

Every year, the 'B' involves a smaller pool of schools, teams, and students. You can't expect fewer and fewer people to produce the same quality product. We will never have the era of 32 districts and Hillsboro vs. Epping again.

A lot has changed in 'B' basketball. Here's one thing that hasn't: It's no more difficult for a school of enrollment 50 to compete with a school of enrollment 300 than it was a generation ago. The smallest school in the 'B' boys won the tournament this year.

Look ahead ten years and we'll probably lose another dozen teams in class B. However, you'll still have a system that is reasonably fair to its smallest schools.

Here's the other reality that you are missing: There is no way that you can increase interest, attendance, talent level, ect. in class B basketball by removing schools from class B basketball.

Every three class plan, or 'expand class A' plan takes a system that is already dwindling in numbers and waters it down even further. It removes schools from a class that is already losing schools. You're giving fewer schools and towns a reason to buy a ticket or tune in.

Rural depopulation will continue, with the exception of metro area bedroom communities, reservations, and oil boom towns. Class B basketball will likely serve fewer students, athletes, and spectators in the future. It will still be essentially a good and fair system to its members.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby thewanderer » Fri Apr 22, 2011 9:43 am

Run4Fun2009 wrote:I don't disagree with many of your points...just the three class system...Maybe I'm afraid of change; but I don't see it changing any time soon.

I do agree though that we need to determine what Mr./Ms. Basketball is nowadays...we need a clearer definition.

Does anyone have the official guidlines for the selection committees? We might find some answers there. would be a good place to start.
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Re: Taking on basketball

Postby Flip » Sun Oct 30, 2011 4:40 pm

heimer wrote:The quality was down, the participation was down, the fan turnout was down, and the media attention was down. Let the nay-sayers start picking it apart, but the trend of quality, participation, fan turnout, and media attention cannot be ignored. If you're not moving forward, you're moving backward, and the status quo won't do.

Is there any proof of this?
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