Here is the letter that the Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association released Saturday, regarding the regional basketball format that has been used the last four seasons.
The state tournament used to be a 16-team field, but was reduced to eight the 2010-11 season to cut down on overhead costs at the state tournament sites in Tacoma, Yakima and Spokane.
The move has been under constant fire since then, as teams are forced to play a single elimination game with a state berth on the line.
The letter in its entirety:
Mad in March: WIAA Madness Leaves Many Angry
from: the WIBCA Board of Controls
As tournament fever spikes for high school basketball fans throughout the state of Washington, the regrettable Regional format that has replaced the Classic 16-Team Tournament leaves many basketball players and fans wanting. Instead of chanting ON TO STATE and enjoying the classic 16-team tournament, Regionals cuts short the seasons of 96 boys and girls basketball teams across the state. For a fourth year these 96 teams, about 1,152 players, along with their respective families, fans, cheerleaders, dance/drill teams, and bands are denied the State experience. These teams, who have played by the WIAA slogan Just Play Fair would be happy to just play. The argument that Regionals is somehow a state experience rings hollow: a single-elimination evening game in a local high school gym pales in comparison to the promise and excitement of the Big Tournament in Spokane, Yakima, or Tacoma.
The WIAA argues the Regional format is cost and time effective. With half the teams participating, there are lower overhead costs. However, these savings come at a very high price: lost memories, lost dreams and lost learning opportunities for countless young people throughout our state. As a business, the WIAA has succeeded in growing revenues, but their grade for maximizing educational opportunities is low. The WIAAs moniker for the 8-team State Tournament is The Hardwood Classic. The new format is not a classic in any traditional or historic sense, but it is certainly a classic example of placing profits before people. A more appropriate title would be State Lite: half the tournament, twice the heartache!
WIBCA, Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association, would like to send their sympathies to the following 96 basketball teams whose seasons were cut short of State by the regrettable Regional format that the WIAA has imposed upon the basketball community of this state:
Boys: Moses Lake, Stadium, Arlington, Bellarmine Prep, Battle Ground, Curtis, South Kitsap, Bothell, Timberline, Mercer Island, Kennedy Catholic, Shorecrest, Kennewick, Lincoln, Foss, Mountlake Terrace Fife, Bremerton, Wapato, Foster, Sumner, River Ridge, Grandview, Sehome, University Prep, Woodland, Hoquiam, Naches Valley, Kalama, LaSalle, Riverside, Vashon Island, Tri-Cities Prep, Kittitas, LaConner, Willapa Valley, Lake Roosevelt, North Beach, Tacoma Baptist, Auburn Adventist, Yakama Valley, Sunnyside Christian, Wilbur-Creston, Entiat, Odessa-Harrington, Wishkah Valley, Oakville, Soap Lake
Girls: Puyallup, Kentridge, Davis, Bellarmine Prep, Edmonds-Woodway, Newport, Todd Beamer, Chiawana, Liberty, Prairie, Mountlake Terrace, Kennedy Catholic, Auburn-Mountainview, Glacier Peak, Ferndale, Kamiakin, Renton, Sumner, West Valley, Burlington-Edison, Colville, Olympic, Black Hills, Bellingham, LaSalle, Brewster, Cascade Christian, University Prep, Woodland, Freeman, Montesano, Eatonville, Crosspoint Academy, Wahkiakum, Lind/Ritzville/Sprague, White Swan, Willapa Valley, Napavine, Orcas Island, Oroville, Sunnyside Christian, Muckleshoot Tribal, Yakama Tribal, Moses Lake Christian, Wellpinit, Waterville, Mary M Knight, Pateros