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Last updated: Wed. Nov. 07, 2012 - 05:15 am EDT

State senator advocating to end class basketball postseason wins re-election bid

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The state senator who discussed proposing a statewide referendum to ban the multi-class high school basketball state tournament is heading back to the Indiana General Assembly for another four-year term.

Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) running unopposed won her re-election bid Tuesday for her Senate district in southeast Indiana.

Leising told The News-Sentinel this summer that she would consider introducing a bill in the upcoming legislative session to create a statewide referendum on the current postseason system used in the annual IHSAA boys and girls basketball tournaments.

Indiana before the 1997-98 school year had all high schools compete in a single-class state championship tournament. However, in the last 15 years the state has held multiple state tournaments for boys and girls basketball with schools divided into four classes based on enrollment.

Legislative attempts to return Indiana to a single-class postseason system are not new to the Statehouse.

Leising was one of two senators to introduce bills during the 2012 session that would have ended class basketball.

Senate Bill 84, which Leising sponsored, did not receive a hearing in the senate's public policy committee and did not reach the Senate floor for a vote. In addition, Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel) introduced a bill that among several education reforms included returning to single-class basketball, but the basketball part of the bill was removed before going to the floor for a vote.

The two proposed bills, though, did prompt the IHSAA to conduct a series of town hall meetings this spring across the state to further examine the class basketball issue. After the meetings, the IHSAA announced in June that it would keep its multi-class postseason system.

IHSAA commissioner Bobby Cox also told The News-Sentinel this summer that he would actively lobby against any bill changing the organization's playoff structure.

The 2013 session of the Indiana General Assembly begins in January and ends in April.

The earliest a statewide referendum on class basketball could appear on the ballot is 2016. After being introduced, the referendum would also have to be passed by both the Indiana Senate and Indiana House of Representatives in two separate sessions before going to Hoosiers for a statewide vote.

vlopes@news-sentinel.com


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