Explaining To Your Kids: Indiana High School Multi-Class Basketball

As parents, we often have trouble explaining some of life’s more complicated issues to our kids. Sometimes it’s global pandemics. Other times it’s vasectomies or iambic pentameter or Gwyneth Paltrow.

Today it’s “Indiana high school multi-class basketball.” The Dadball Era is here to help when the kids come a-questioning, because they most certainly will … particularly after you’ve been fever-preaching for three straight hours about how DENNIS HOPPER DID NOT DIE SO THAT SOME RANDOM EAST GOSHEN ARTS ACADEMY/PUD CREEK BAPTIST CLASS NEGATIVE-2F “STATE CHAMPIONSHIP” GAME COULD LIVE.

What is “class basketball?”

Institutional malpractice, really. A preventable failure. A dark, ongoing travesty that took our state’s only interesting entertainment export and sawed it into a million boring pieces, and then used those little dreary pieces like weapons to literally stab Jesus in the face, killing Him.

[gets up to leave]

Okay, okay! Sorry. Sit down. It’s a way of dividing up high schools based on student enrollment numbers. You only play similarly sized schools. Davids dance with Davids, Goliaths with Goliaths, and never the twain shall meet in the Semi-State morning game, for example. MARCH MONOTONY! Catch the status quo!™

What’s status quo?

You know that stupid slogan, “In 49 other states it’s just basketball?”


Well now it’s ALL 50 states. In all 50 states it’s just basketball. Indiana is no different than North Dakota in that regard, and nobody is making a movie about either state’s 2001 class AAAA(§6(e)) title game that tipped off 25 minutes after the class AAAA(§6(d)) title game on the same court.

How did it used to be divided up?

Geography. Whatever handful of schools were nearby, they’d all play in the same sectional, no matter the student enrollment. Pick those teams out of a hat and go, no questions asked. A home-schooled hodgepodge team with no gym and like eight kids total might draw Carmel High School in the first game and that tiny commune team would probably lose by a couple hundred points. But not always. And that mere CHANCE that the obscure little Jonestown Christian Coalition or whatever could upend the powerhouse is what made Indiana high school basketball the nationally known commodity that it was.

One class. One title game. One champion. That’s what made it unique.

It was an odd recipe, for sure—and highly unfair most of the time—but we all developed a taste for it, and so did Hollywood.

Now it’s just an uninteresting, unoriginal Applebee’s along the Shadeland Avenue of American life.

So like—who cares? What difference does it make?

You know how the first couple days of the NCAA Tournament are a total blast? That’s all because No. 15-seed West Florida DJ & Vape Rig Technical Institute or whoever MIGHT pull off the upset against the heavily favored No. 2-seed Maryland. That’s what makes it so fun.

Indiana high school basketball used to have those possibilities too. With multi-class basketball, now it doesn’t.

God you’re such a Boomer. Why did it change?

Fairness? Money? Russian interference? I truly have no idea and never cared to ask.

Are you crying?

Please leave.