MILFORD — A pair of The Papers, Incorporated editorial staff members were honored this past weekend at the 2012 Hoosier State Press Association awards held in Indianapolis.
Tim Ashley, associate editor for The Papers and The Mail-Journal, was given first place for Best Editorial on his column about Class Basketball in Indiana written for January 25, 2012, in The Mail-Journal newspaper, Milford.
The comment given for Ashley’s submission: “This entry’s topics are the kind that make readers sit up and think a little more about their community. Congratulations!”
The award was the second time Ashley has been recognized for Best Editorial while writing for The Mail-Journal, and has also been recognized for Best Business Economic News Coverage.
Mike Deak, sports editor for The Papers and Stacey Page Online, was given a pair of third place honors for his photography. The first award was for a Best Sports Action photo featuring Warsaw high jumper Stephen Kolbe, taken at the Goshen Boys Track Sectional in May of 2012. The second award was for the Multiple Picture Group montage from the June 2012 Papa Roach/In This Moment concert at Piere’s in Fort Wayne. Both entries were featured on Stacey Page Online.
The comment given for Deak’s Kolbe photo: “This is a visually interesting action photo that rewards creative experimentation.”
The comment given for Deak’s Papa Roach/In This Moment photo set: “Strong emotional portraits of these hard rockers brings the viewer into the venue. Technically well-done and edited well.”
Deak is no stranger to HSPA awards, having taken home at least third place in a category for the sixth straight year. Deak has won 12 HSPA awards, including first place sports nods in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
The HSPA recognized over 2,600 entries for this year’s contest from around the state, which were judged by the Minnesota Newspaper Association.
Ashley’s Class Basketball editorial is below.
Let the public decide
January is nearing its end and in just a few weeks high school basketball sectional tournaments for girls and boys will begin across Indiana. This is the time of the year when teams want to be peaking and playing their best basketball to be sharp for tournament time.
Some of our readers may have been following legislation introduced be State Sen. Mike Delph, (R-Carmel), that would have meant returning to a single-class high school basketball tournament if it had passed. But Delph agreed to drop the legislation last week knowing the Indiana High School Athletic Association will seek public input on the issue.
Bobby Cox, IHSAA commissioner, said it is likely he will travel around the state and hold something similar to town hall meetings. Public input will be sought on whether or not people favor returning to a single class format for the state basketball tournament.
In the 1990s, Indiana adopted the four class format for the high school basketball state tournament. Nearly every state in America utilizes the class format for high school basketball state playoffs.
It’s fitting the IHSAA will seek public input. Let the public decide and not lawmakers debating on the Indiana General Assembly floor. It was, frankly, a bit puzzling to hear of this legislation in the first place.
While we don’t doubt Mr. Delph and those who support single class basketball are sincere, there are many other priorities that should be high on the agenda for state lawmakers to consider. Among those are the economy, finding ways to attract more jobs to the state, right to work and public education.
Clearly, high school basketball has a long and storied history in the Hoosier State. Some of our fondest memories are of attending a state tournament basketball game and cheering for our team until we nearly lost our voices. High school basketball has generated community interest and support for a long time.
There will always be a debate about the tournament format. Both sides have legitimate points to consider. Those who support four classes say it promotes fairness and allows smaller schools to have something to strive for. They believe the concept of a single state champion is outdated because it was created when Indiana had hundreds more high schools.
Now, there are fewer high schools and there is more of a disparity when it comes to school sizes.
Supporters also say when there was only a single class, it was unusual for a small school to advance to the later stages of the tournament. Milan winning the state tournament in the early 1950s was a wonderful story, but in reality rarely happened. In fact, very few small schools ever even made it to the final four, let alone the championship game.
But those who favor a single class believe the current format has hurt attendance at state playoff games because of unusual pairings. For example, in some parts of the state there are schools having to travel longer distances to get to a game. More natural rivalries are not possible, in some cases, because teams close by are in a different class.
In addition, they feel the tournament has been watered down to a certain degree because a state champion has only proven they are the best team in one class, not the entire state.
What is the point of having four state champions, they ask.
But the bottom line is let the public voice opinions to the IHSAA and then let the IHSAA make a decision. It will be interesting to see what does happen and to hear how the public really feels. Remember, a majority of the high school principals in Indiana voted for the four class form in the 1990s.
State lawmakers can now focus on other priorities as it should be.