INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana High School Athletic Association board of directors unanimously rejected two proposals Monday to use a multiplier formula to adjust enrollment figures for private and parochial schools.
The proposals, which could have forced some of the nonpublic schools into larger tournament classes, were prompted by concerns that private schools had become too successful because of their ability to draw from a larger, more affluent pool of talent.
"It was a good discussion, but in the end, I think the general sentiment was that there was not enough data or support on which to defend that kind of thing," IHSAA commissioner Blake Ress said.
It was the first time the IHSAA considered the issue. But unlike the board's decision almost a decade ago to create separate playoff classes for basketball and other sports, this vote wasn't close.
"Nobody on the board spoke that they were for it, necessarily, but they spoke of concern of having a basis upon which to make this kind of a change," Ress said.
One of the proposals would have adjusted enrollment by using different multipliers based on the percentage of students who receive free or reduced-price lunches. Schools with the fewest students on the lunch program would have had to use the largest multiplier -- 1.3 times their listed enrollments. The multiplier for those with the most students on the program -- presumably schools with the poorest families -- would have been only 0.7, which could have dropped them to a smaller class.
That proposal was defeated 15-0 with one abstention, by Randy Barrett, the superintendent at Eastern Greene.
Another proposal that would have set the multiplier at 1.5 for all nonpublic schools was rejected 16-0.
A multiplier could have moved some schools like Indianapolis Roncalli, which has won a record eight football championships, from 3A to 4A in basketball and possibly even to 5A in football.
Ress said Monday's vote, however, would probably not settle the issue.
"I'd like to put it to bed, but, no, I wouldn't be surprised" if it were brought before the board again, he said.
Among other actions Monday, the board voted 13-3 to fill an additional board seat with a private school representative; 13-3 to reclassify schools every two years, instead of four, for football only; and 13-3 to table to its June meeting a proposal to allow year-by-year hiring of basketball and football coaches who do not have teaching licenses.
A separate proposal that would have relaxed the license requirement with certain conditions was defeated 9-7, but the board directed the IHSAA staff to continue studying the issue and gave Ress authority in the meantime to waive the requirement, on an individual basis, for non-teachers who have coached at least two years.
"A lot of the members weren't completely comfortable with some of the wording that was in there," IHSAA spokesman Jason Wille said of the desire to reconsider the matter in June. "They wanted to define some things a little more than what was in the proposal."
Among the coaches who will be affected by the final vote is Hoosier basketball icon Damon Bailey, who became the coach at Bedford North Lawrence, the school he led to the 1990 state championship, two weeks before the start of practice last fall. He does not have a teaching license, however, and Bedford was able to hire him only because of the current IHSAA one-year exemption.
Without IHSAA approval in June, the school would have to hire a new coach this year.