Is Class Expansion Inevitable in Illinois?
Byline: Mike McGraw
Indiana's decision to change its high school basketball tournament was surprising for two reasons.
Not only did they do away with the supposedly sacred single tournament system in Hoosierland, they bypassed the Illinois two-class philosophy and jumped all the way to four classes.
Maybe that leaves us in Illinois as the "new traditionalists."
The other large Midwestern states - Indiana, Michigan, Ohio - are using four classes, while Illinois sticks with two.
Considering this, is class expansion in Illinois inevitable?
One person who was happy to hear about Indiana's change is Wauconda athletic director Jim LePage.
Three years ago, he helped author a proposal for Illinois to use four classes in basketball.
"Indiana took the presentation we made and used that as a starting point," LePage said. "The research we did for that had a big effect."
Three years ago, when LePage's group presented their proposal, the basketball advisory committee voted unanimously not to pursue the subject.
The topic was discussed again last month at an advisory committee meeting. This time, the vote was 9-2 against four classes.
The advisory committee representative from the northern suburbs is Karl Costello, the boys coach at Loyola Academy.
Costello was one of the two committee members who voted in the minority. The other was Matt Laurich, a basketball referee who teaches at Waubonsie Valley High School.
"Personally, I just think it's inevitable, just a matter of time," Laurich said. "I think it's a step that's eventually going to come about."
Costello has heard from coaches in the four-class states first-hand.
"When you talk to people in states that have more classes, you don't hear anybody complaining about it," Costello said. "Nobody's giving back trophies or saying our state championship didn't mean anything because it was watered down.
"One of my best friends is Joe Petrocelli. He coached the Paxson brothers at Archbishop Alter in Kettering, Ohio.
"They don't have a final eight, they have a final four. They play it in Columbus and the games are packed. The towns are rabid, enthusiastic. …