Special to Colorado Community Media
The Denver Coliseum will continue to host the Great 8 round of the state boys and girls basketball playoffs in Class 6A.
The Colorado High School Activities Association’s legislative council overwhelmingly voted down an attempt to move those games to school sites or, in some cases, neutral locations.“I think it’s great that the Great 8 will still be at the Coliseum,” said Prairie View coach Damien Romero, whose team moved up to Class 6A.
The addition of a sixth classification of basketball prompted CHSAA to begin play as early as 8:45 a.m. for quarterfinal rounds for the top three classifications of basketball. Given the early start, the Continental League proposed to shift Class 6A games to school sites. It said such a move would allow games to be played on Friday nights and/or Saturdays. Plus, proponents said, it would have meant less outlay for CHSAA to hire game workers and for rental fees for the Coliseum.
“With more teams and players in one location, the opportunity for more exposure and coverage is a great opportunity for those that are blessed to reach the Great 8,” Romero said.
The 64-4 CHSAA council vote came on April 18.
Brighton High School’s girls basketball program also moved up to Class 6A this season. Coach Jim French like the idea of keeping games at the Coliseum.
“Some coaches expressed the challenges from starting games early in the morning in order to get the full day in and the disadvantages to those teams in doing so,” French said. “Between the available game sites in the metro and surrounding area, each classification could host or combine two but not three (4A - 6A) classifications.”
He used the state football championship model as an example (those contests are moving to Fort Collins this fall.
French noted other states consider historic performance among factors when the time comes to place schools in classifications.
“Our goal is to provide the most enjoyable high school experience we can,” French said. “But when none of the sports is competitive, it discourages those athletes in the process. The same top tier schools comprised the playoffs, and reducing the field from 48 to 32 left a lot of deserving teams to compete in the first round – especially when the entire playoff time block is three weeks.”
As for the future of Class 6A basketball, Romero was indifferent.
“With our enrollment numbers, we’d always be in the highest classification,” he said.
French said CHSAA could continue with a sixth classification “if they made it for schools with the higher enrollment numbers.”
“Automatically moving schools up from 5A in 2022 did not allow those with the lowest enrollment an opportunity to compete,” he said. “I do believe if those schools were left in 5A, they could compete.”
Other business out of CHSAA:
- Basketball players can play up to five quarters (115 quarters total in a season) per day of competition. The size of some teams forces coaches to bring up players from the junior-varsity squads to fill out rosters. The move brings all of the state’s basketball players into the same umbrella when it comes to playing time, even those schools that play 19 games before their district tournaments.
- Tournament officials for the Class 3A district playoffs will not reseed the bracket when the quarterfinal round begins.
- The council voted 69-2 to allow softball teams to take up to 23 players to regional tournaments.
For all the details from CHSAA’s legislative council meeting from last week, click here.