Mythbusters: Multiple-class state tournaments beneficial to kids

  • Article by: DAVID LA VAQUE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 24, 2013 - 6:46 AM
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St. Thomas Academy’s Tommy Novak celebrated during last year’s Class 1A tournament. This fall, STA moves to Class 2A.

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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Sports fans tend to cling to long-held beliefs about their teams, for better or worse. This week, we are exploring five of them to determine whether fact or fiction rules the day. Today: Multiple-class high school tournaments.

 

You still hear it now, local high school sports enthusiasts of a certain vintage griping how the multiple class state tournament format ruined what were once great spectacles.

Basketball’s single-class format ended in 1970. Five years later, the Minnesota State High School League approved two-class competition based on school enrollment. Hockey, the crown jewel state tournament, expanded in 1992. Perhaps something was lost on those occasions.

The benefit? Thousands of high schools athletes from all corners of Minnesota experienced the thrill of a state tournament. Small towns celebrated. Traditions were rediscovered or born anew. With that in mind, the multiple class system is a success.

Limited travel down the boys’ basketball record book list of alphabetized state tournament qualifiers shows why more classes were needed. Ada, located in northwestern Minnesota, made the state tournament in 1933, 1962 and 1966. Basketball expanded to two classes in 1970 and again to four in 1997. Ada, co-oping with Borup, returned to state in 2009.

Times change. If certain metro area schools are using superior resources in athletics to pull away from schools with similar enrollments, what chance do most small communities have?

Purists sniff, “Why not just give everyone a medal?” While it is true that seven high school football programs win state championships, only 14.9 percent of the state’s 375 teams reached a state tournament last season. Fear not, purists, 85.1 percent of teams still dealt with the disappointment of loss. In contrast, more than twice as many NFL teams (37.5 percent, 12 of 32) go to the playoffs.

As for the law of unintended consequences, some schools have exploited their placement by winning multiple championships and still refusing to opt-up to a more competitive class. But next year, Totino-Grace (football) and St. Thomas Academy (boys’ hockey) will add intrigue to their respective sports by opting-up to their highest classes. Moreover, their moves allow overmatched schools to drop down.

If three divisions of athletics can exist at the NCAA level, so too can multiple high school classes. Teams of outstate athletes should not have a glass ceiling on their championship dreams because of where and when they were born and raised. Because lest adults forget, the tournaments belong to the kids.

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Cincinnati - LP: J. Broxton 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: T. Watson 2
Minnesota - LP: T. May 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 9
NY Yankees - WP: C. Capuano 6 FINAL
Toronto - LP: M. Buehrle 3
Philadelphia - LP: J. Diekman 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 4
Boston - WP: A. Ranaudo 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: C. Archer 4
Miami - LP: C. Hatcher 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 5
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 6 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Vargas 1
Detroit - WP: J. Verlander 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Texas - WP: S. Baker 13 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: N. Ramirez 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: P. Neshek 2
Colorado - LP: R. Brothers 2 FINAL
Arizona - WP: B. Ziegler 5
Oakland - LP: J. Lester 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: J. Weaver 4
Los Angeles 2 Bottom 12th Inning
San Diego 2
Washington - WP: J. Zimmermann 8 FINAL
Seattle - LP: F. Hernandez 3
Milwaukee - LP: W. Peralta 2 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: R. Vogelsong 13
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 FINAL
ULM 17
Boise State 13 FINAL
(18) Ole Miss 35
Tulane 31 FINAL
Tulsa 38
Rutgers 41 FINAL
Washington St 38
Weber State 14 FINAL
(19) Arizona State 45
Temple 37 FINAL
Vanderbilt 7
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Houston 3 FINAL
Sporting Kansas City 1
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 71 FINAL
Phoenix 85

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