As a fan, I think:
* A college football playoff would diminish college football Saturdays.
* A 96-team NCAA basketball tournament would be a cruel joke.
* Expanding the Iowa high school football playoffs was a terrible idea.
After soaking in this past week’s Iowa state girls’ basketball tournament, my general feeling is unchanged: Bigger isn’t always better in sports.
For the first time, 40 teams (up from 32 last year) competed for championships in five classes (up from four) last week in Wells Fargo Arena. Here were some scores: 75-28. 55-28. 71-25. 63-26. In watered-down Class 1-A, where the field was slashed to 115 teams, the average state victory margin entering Friday was 22.7 points.
And if they were going to five classes, the dividing lines should’ve made more sense.
In the new big-school Class 5-A, one in FIVE teams make state. That’s made the spectrum of 4-A range from enrollments in the high 700s (like Des Moines Hoover) to the mid-300s.
The classes are confusing, too. Somebody from Harlan recently asked, “Why are we in 4-A this year?” The girls are — but the Harlan boys open state play this week in 3-A. (The boys have stuck with the cleaner four-class setup.)
As Clear Lake (enrollment 348) jumped to 4-A, Davenport Assumption (331) — which played in the 4-A/5-A Mississippi Athletic Conference — easily won the 3-A title. Which brings me to one idea: Why not make a rule that private schools (such as Assumption or Western Christian, which dominated the 2-A field) can be moved up a class?
Given the blatant corporate sponsorships at Wells Fargo and more parents filing through the turnstiles, the bottom line — literally — means we won’t recede to four classes again.
When my daughter is in high school in 15 years, maybe I’ll be glad more girls are winning trophies. But the fan in me hopes by then we’ll have stopped the expansion at five classes.