8 is enough basketball tourney qualifiers

Posted Feb. 09, 2009, at 11:02 p.m.

It’s tourney time — well, almost.

As high school basketball play-ins begin tonight across the region with girls action —the boys play is Wednesday night — I thought today might be as good a time as any to address a few issues I’d like to see the Maine Principals’ Association add to the growing list of sports concerns.

In no particular order, then, let’s list them like this.

No. 1 — With recent discussions out of MPA offices in Augusta regarding what percentage of teams qualify for postseason play in sports — 66 percent is the current number, which will be reduced to 50 percent in fall 2009 — I’d like to see a move back in basketball to the old rule of taking the top eight in each division or en-rollment class.

Why, you’re asking?

Back in the day, eight qualifiers per enrollment division were enough. I sat in on enough basketball committee meetings to hear the proverbial whining about kids deserving an opportunity to play on the tournament venues’ floors to gather this opinion: Let’s set the bar higher and make this a true tournament.

Players and coaches have a loftier goal to shoot for each year. Heck, finishing ninth in a situation like that really gives the kids something to strive for each year.

Reset the field for eight, and I’m happy.

No. 2 — Hey, MPA, it’s time to close those gyms in the summer.

If I had my way — and I usually don’t — all high school gyms in our state would close their doors in the summer months.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t our state produce as many all-stars before summer leagues, AAU, YBOA, and team weekends became all this expensive, required stuff for kids?

Whatever happened to one kid shooting at one basket?

The MPA has already cut a week out of summer play to give fall participants a rest. Now would be as good a time as any to shut the doors completely.

No. 3 — And finally, I think it’s time to bring the New England Basketball Tournament back and bring it to Maine.

I was tickled pink that the MPA decided to let Maine’s athletes in other sports continue to compete in New England competition.

Wouldn’t it be a hoot to re-establish the New England Basketball Tournament here, let’s say in Bangor?

I think so.

Oh, my. Consider the excitement that could generate, and Bangor would make the perfect host.

30-Second Time Out

I have been approached recently by two well-known sports people, who chose to remain nameless, about my interest in being involved with the formation of a Maine Basketball Hall of Fame and a local chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Presently, despite many recognitions for basketball people in other Halls of Fame, there is no separate Hall for just outstanding achievers in basketball. The FCA, if you will, was established in 1954 to help coaches and athletes at the professional, college, high school, junior high and youth levels use the powerful medium of athletics to express their Christian faith.

We will, of course, keep our readers posted on any other details that develop.

bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

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