A shot people still talk about 58 years later because it took place in a single-class state tournament.
State Senator Mike Delph (R-Carmel) is passionate about bringing the Indiana Basketball State Tournament back to its roots. He wanted to make sure Bobby Plump and his Milan teammates made an appearance at Tuesday's town hall meeting.
"It was very moving for me. It is one of the honors that I've had in my life. Basketball has been such an important sport to the State of Indiana and to have Bobby Plump in Milan read a letter from the legendary John Wooden about his love of the single-class basketball tournamen," explained Senator Delph.
It was pretty neat to see not just Plump, but six of the members of that State Championship team return to Milan to show their support of Delph and the single class state tournament.
"Having grown up in that (single-class basketball) I don't know any other way," said Rollin Cutter. "The last speaker that spoke talked about challenges, you just can't imagine what they are when you have that dream, and you live that dream."
Fifteen people in the crowd of nearly 100 decided to take a turn at the microphone to offer their opinions about the state tournament. Twelve of the speakers were in favor of the single class tournament, two preferred multi-class, while one, Rev. Brian Tibbs of Charlestown proposed a compromise that would allow teams to start in one single-class tournament, then as schools are eliminated, they filter down into a single class championship.
According to Delph, the final vote from the crowd in attendance at Milan was 67-3 in favor of a single class tournament. This is not surprising as every speaker who took the microphone in support of the single class tournament was greeted with a round of applause at the conclusion. The two school administrators favoring multi-class basketball ended in silence.
IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox deserves credit agreeing to partner with Delph and travel across the state to listen to the fans and hear what the people have to say about the state tournament.
"I have fond memories of the old tournament. I also respect the passion that all the speakers bring to the podium. Some of them are staunchly in favor of the old format and some are staunchly in favor of the current format. From our perspective, we're accomplishing the goal that the Senator (Delph) and I wanted to accomplish and that is to seek public input. We're getting that, so I'm trying not to make judgements of that, I'm trying to be objective," said Cox following the meeting.
Bobby Plump is not shy about his desire to help Indiana return to its roots, but he appreciates IHSAA Commissioner Bobby Cox's willingness to listen to the people and tour the state during this town hall meeting series.
"I think its great that the IHSAA is giving people an opportunity to talk, and obviously it was overwhelmingly for the single class system here in Milan which I would expect. I think there were two people that spoke for the multi-class, but they both were administrators at Jac-Cen-Del, and whenever you win something, you are going to be for what that is. I would like to clear up one thing, when he (Jac-Cen-Del Assistant Principal Brian Fehribach) said 'I've got two rings, here and he said, 'You can't take them away from me' what is he talking about?" questioned Plump. "I congratulate them, I think it is great that they won the state tournament, but if the fans at Jac-Cen-Del were so interested in the multi-class, where were they tonight?" asked Plump following the meeting.
There are currently four more town hall meetings scheduled, and there is talk from Delph about adding one or two more. Delph is trying to get some of the Indiana Basketball legends to throw their endorsement his way in an effort to generate a little more single class basketball support. Delph mentioned Scott Skiles and Steve Alford as Hoosier Hoop legends he is talkling to who support one-class basketball.
The next town hall meeting is at Skiles hometown, Plymouth. The four remaining meetings are listed below.
Tues. May 8, 2012 Plymouth HS 7:00 p.m. ET
Thur. May 10, 2012 Marion HS 7:00 p.m. ET
Wed. May 16, 2012 Connersville HS 7:00 p.m. ET
Thur. May 24, 2012 Gary Roosevelt HS 7:00 p.m. CT
The format at each of these meetings will be the same as the first seven. Citizens are given an opportunity to talk (2 minute time limit) and everyone in attendance is asked to submit their vote for either single class or multi-class. The IHSAA is keeping a tally of the votes throughout the entire series and will release the votes at the conclusion of the series.
Cox wants the state's athletic directors, coaches, and basketball players to vote on their preference prior to hearing the school principals. Cox said he hopes to wrap up the meetings by the end of May so the data can be compiled and presented to the IHSAA executive committee and the entire membership.
The fan vote is just one factor of consideration, but Plump would like the people of Indiana to be given the say during a public election.
"If you truly would like the people of Indiana to speak instead of just at these (meetings) because they have a lot of things to do, Why don't we just put it on the ballot and see what the people say," asked Plump.
While that is not currently in the plans, we know how that vote would go in Milan, decidedly in favor of a return to one-class basketball.