Sports Scene: Seven divisions in basketball?

There has been much talk on social media this week from all parts of the state regarding a rumor the Ohio High School Athletic Association is considering adding divisions in basketball.

The OHSAA is supposedly considering having six or seven divisions for hoops, the latter of which would match football.

The change supposedly could go into effect as early as next season, with the state tournament weekend at UD Arena consisting of the six or seven division championship games; semifinals would take place elsewhere and earlier.

Hopefully it’s nonsense, but the amount of people claiming to have heard about the idea and the fact they’re from all corners of the state makes me think there is some fire under the smoke.

It’s a terrible idea. It would water down state championships to a ridiculous degree (I still think football titles have been watered down since a seventh division was added).

Football having more divisions is more understandable; there is only so many weeks you can fit in games before winter, making longer postseasons impossible, and not every team qualifies for the playoffs.

Having so many divisions for basketball is asinine. There would be a little more than 100 teams per division. A team could claim a state title by winning as little as five postseason games, if it takes a first-round bye.

It would do little to address competitive balance either. For example, look at Russia’s Division IV state semifinal loss to Richmond Heights last year. If there were seven divisions, both schools’ enrollments are so small they both very well could have been in Division VII (Richmond Heights does have football and is D-VII).

Know who else would likely have been D-VII? Jackson Center, who Russia beat in a regional final. And Troy Christian, who Russia beat in a semifinal.

Should the teams Russia, Jackson Center, Troy Christian and Richmond Heights defeated in district games get the chance to be D-VI or D-V state champs?

Bob Knight shouldn’t be deified

There’s a tendency when someone dies to block out the flaws and only remember good traits. At an extreme, it can lead to borderline or outright deification.

I hope that won’t be the result of legendary Indiana and Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight, who died at the age of 83 on Wednesday.

It’s a bit ironic Knight died on All Saints’ Day, because his behavior was anything but saintly.

That is not to say Knight wasn’t a great basketball mind, or a great coach, or philanthropic. If you weren’t previously aware of that last trait of his, there have been plenty of stories published by many media outlets in recent days describing it.

But considering the poor behavior we see displayed from public figures and average Joe’s alike nowadays, Knight’s anger issues shouldn’t be forgotten.

If a student insulted a teacher like Knight did officials, he’d be suspended (and if he had a history of such four-letter word outbursts, perhaps expelled). If a worker threw his chair across the factory floor, he’d be reprimanded or fired. If a boss choked a worker like Knight did a player, he’d be arrested for assault.

Knight acted despicably time and again over decades. That type of behavior shouldn’t be considered socially acceptable and almost always isn’t, but for some reason is when it comes to certain public figures.

You can be successful without acting like a lunatic. Dean Smith managed to win two national titles and get to 11 Final Fours without cussing or bullying.

That is not to say Knight should be vilified.

Hopefully, there’s room for nuance when discussing his legacy.