Nearly every classification is happy with its current format, except one, according to the results of a basketball survey that was sent to CHSAA member schools last fall.
The survey, which focused on statewide and individual classification concerns, had 496 respondents, of which 309 were administrators (athletic directors, district athletic directors, principals and/or superintendents). The remaining respondents were coaches.
Class 1A had 66 overall responses, of which 58 were administrators. Class 2A saw 98 responses with 68 administrators, while Class 3A had 101 respond, including 57 administrators. In Class 4A, 120 people responded, including the 68 administrators. Meanwhile in Class 5A, there were an overall total of 110 responding, including 58 administrators.
The CHSAA Basketball Advisory Committee had commissioned the Association staff to survey the membership on a number of topics that it felt important for its work looking to the 2014-2016 competitive cycle. While the complete results are linked to this story, they have been separated by overall results and administrator results. The comments that were provided by individual responders have also been included on the survey results posting.
The survey also looked at game limits, the viability of eliminating consolation bracket in 1A, 2A and 3A, championship sites, male and female participation rates and attendance concerns as a means to help the basketball committee look at the future of Colorado high school basketball. Another question was focused on the 4A Great 8 sites and whether those should be played at the home site of the higher seed. Additionally, the committee asked those responding to weigh in on the prospects of a championship weekend, where 6 or 10 championship games would be played at a central site.
Classes 1A, 2A, 3A and 5A show a general satisfaction with their playoff formats, all approving of those formats by nearly a 66 percent to 33 percent margin. The lone exception, Class 4A, showed a perfect split of 50 percent to 50 percent from its 68 administrative respondents.
To get a clearer general view of each classification, some of the findings are noted below. They all reflect the information gleaned from the administrators’ responses. But, to get a feel for all the results, click on the links embedded in each classification below.
The most obvious conclusion in Class 1A is that this classification is most happy with its current district, regional and state format (86 percent of the total like the format). Those taking the survey also noted that 24 qualifiers was the appropriate number of qualifiers and that a limit of 19 regular season games was appropriate. Travel and expenses should remain a priority when developing a playoff format, say those taking the survey said. Class 1A did not believe that eliminating the consolation bracket was appropriate.
Attendance at 45 percent of the classification’s boys’ and 47 percent of the girls’ games is declining, while only 22 percent say that they’re attendance is increasing. While that information is reflective of what is happening in small schools, too, is the declining participation rates for both boys and girls. According to the survey, 43 percent of the schools are seeing a decline in boys’ basketball participation and 33 percent in girls’ participation.
On the matter of the central championship game format, where either all 10 state championship games, or six of the 10 would be played at a central site, Class 1A was the least support, by a 57 percent to 43 percent margin.
The survey results in Class 2A show some desire for the committee to address travel and expense at the regional level. Although the classification is generally happy with its format, 65 percent believe that the format should keep boys’ and girls’ teams from the same schools in the same regions. And, 68 percent noted that a more balanced approach to regional travel needed to be adopted.
Like their 1A counterparts, the classification felt that 19 games was appropriate for the classification and taking 32 teams to regionals was the right number. On the question of the consolation bracket, the responses where split 50 percent to 50 percent with 34 responders taking each side.
When looking at attendance, most schools said that their attendance for both genders has not changed, or was increasing. Only 25 percent said their boys’ attendance was declining, while just 27 percent said the same thing in girls.
The vast majority of 2A responders would like to see a weekend championship event, with most preferring a 10-team championship series at a central site. The second preference was a two-site championship format with six games at one site and four at another.
Travel is one area that the basketball committee needed to address, 58 percent of the Class 3A respondents said. They survey results also showed that 56 percent like to have the committee look at a Final Four concept similar to Class 4A and 5A.
The classification was in agreement that 19 games and 32 teams qualifying to regionals was an appropriate number for both areas. As far as the consolation bracket goes, the respondents noted by a 68 percent to 32 percent margin that the elimination of the first round losers would be appropriate, leaving the third place and state championship games for the final two days of the tournament.
The classification also showed stable numbers as far as attendance, with 64 percent saying that attendance at both genders’ games had not changed. In fact, 26 percent said that attendance was growing for boys’ games, while 19 percent said the same for their girls’ games. Participation numbers for the boys’ showed no change for 63 percent of the responding schools, while on the girls’ side, 28 percent said they had declining numbers, 28 percent said that had increasing numbers and 44 percent said there has been no change in the participation rate for girls.
Certainly, with a 50-50 split on satisfaction of the playoff format, there are several interesting results from the survey that leave much for the basketball committee to consider. The respondents noted that it would be okay to have home teams host through the Great 8 (63 percent-23 percent) or to use large neutral high school gymnasiums as Great 8 sites (62 percent-38 percent).
By a large margin (68 percent-32 percent), the respondents noted that too many teams were qualifying to the state bracket, preferring to go down to 32 from 48 qualifiers. The survey results also showed that 60 percent of the responders preferred 23 regular season games to a game limit less than that. The CHSAA Legislative Council will vote on a proposal that will limit 4A regular season games to 19, sponsored by the Northern League.
As for the questions on attendance at games, 44 percent said their boy’s game attendance has not change, while 26 percent said it was increasing and 32 percent noted a decrease. On the girls’ side, 52 percent said that attendance had not changed, 10 percent said they saw an increase, while 38 percent saw a decrease.
The survey revealed that the boys’ participation rate in the classification had not changed (60 percent) and actually saw an increase for 29 percent of those responding, while 10 percent noted a decrease in attendance. For the girls’ it was a different story. The survey showed that just 46 percent did not show an increase in attendance, while 29 percent saw a decrease. Just 25 percent noted that their girls’ participation rate was increasing.
Class 4A respondents also noted that they would like to see a weekend championship series for all classifications (79 percent), indicating a preference for one-site and 10 games but also in support of a six games at one site, four at another concept, as well.
The majority of respondents approved of the Denver Coliseum as a site for the Great 8 (64 percent-36 percent), but also supported a smaller venue that more appropriately accommodates the crowd size for the 5A girls’ Great 8 (71 percent-29 percent). The classification was lukewarm on the idea of changing the format to neutral high school gymnasiums for the Sweet 16 games (47 percent-53 percent).
Fifty percent reported that 48 teams was the appropriate number of qualifiers in 5A, although 31 percent noted that 32 was the right number of qualifiers. Twenty-three regular season games, the number each school is now allowed, was deemed appropriate by 60 percent of the respondents.
Fifty-nine percent of the survey responders noted that attendance at their boys’ games had not changed and 22 percent said that attendance was increasing. Just 19 percent said they had a decrease in boys’ attendance. On the girls’ side 43 percent of those responding noted no change in attendance, but another 43 percent said their girls’ attendance was decreasing, causing concern. Only 14 percent reported an increase in attendance.
The participation rate for the two genders showed some similar results. On the girls’ side, 29 percent said their girls’ participation had remained stable, while 36 percent said they had seen an increase. But, 35 percent said their girls’ participation rate was decreasing. For the males, 55 percent reported now change in the participation rate and 35 percent report an increase. Just 10 percent said that they were seeing a decrease in boys’ participation.
The complete survey results have been imbedded by classification for individual perusal.
The CHSAA Basketball Committee meets February 6 at the CHSAA Office to look at the next competitive cycle. If a school or coach would like to provide input into the process, contact the Basketball Committee chair Paul Cain at email@example.com, or Bert Borgmann, CHSAA Assistant Commissioner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are not a coach or administrator, please go through your local school athletic director to provide comment.