PHS teams to see significant changes under IHSAA tourney realignments

PLYMOUTH — The new sectional alignments for the upcoming 2013-14 school year were approved by the IHSAA Executive Committee Monday, with Plymouth High School slated to see the biggest changes to its postseason schedule.
The new sectional alignments came in the wake of the school reclassifications finalized by the IHSAA in late June, which reclassed Plymouth into 4A tournament fields in baseball, softball, basketball and volleyball.
With the reclassifications, Plymouth’s most significant changes will come in the aforementioned sports, where the school will be rerouted to South Bend area-based Sectional 3, competing with Mishawaka, Penn, Adams, Clay, Riley and Washington. Rochester was bumped up to Class 3A and will fill the hole left by Plymouth in the Class 3A Sectional 19 tilt alongside the Culver Academies and John Glenn.
While Plymouth remained in the 4A Class under the IHSAA’s new six-class football tournament format, the Rockies will also see significant changes to their postseason schedule. They move from a Sectional 11 field that featured familiar Northern Lakes Conference competitors NorthWood, Wawasee, Northridge and Concord to a Sectional 18 tourney containing Hobart, Kankakee Valley, New Prairie, Clay, Riley, St. Joe and Washington, none of which are on Plymouth football’s regular season schedule.
In addition to the postseason schedule changes, Plymouth’s Athletic Department has already hinted that the new tourney alignments may precipitate some changes to PHS teams’ regular-season slates as well. The school, which has regularly hosted tournament fields in boys and girls basketball, volleyball and baseball, also expressed a desire to continue to host IHSAA tourneys under the new alignments.
“Plymouth High School has enjoyed a tradition of athletic excellence as evidenced by decades of success — through IHSAA single, and multi-class distinctions,” said Plymouth Athletic Director Roy Benge in an email to staff March 13.
“Our office will strive to help (Plymouth sports) programs move forward through the transition ahead. Adjustment to some schedule changes are inevitable both by us and those we currently compete with. We will continue to express our willingness/interest to host future IHSAA venues as a 4A school. Our facilities, experience and success hosting previous IHSAA events will be a positive to consider.”
Monday’s realignments were made by three committees consisting of school administrators representing each IHSAA district and class. Bremen High School principal Bruce Jennings was a Class 2A District I representative on the 12-member baseball, basketball, softball and volleyball committee, while Class A District I Argos was represented by AHS principal and former AD Nick Medich on the 12-member soccer committee. The football committee totaled 18 members.
In addition to the tourney realignments, the IHSAA Board of Directors approved another proposal Monday that will allow home-schooled students to participate in IHSAA sports under certain conditions beginning next school year.
Those conditions that must be met are that the student-athlete has to have been home-schooled for the previous three consecutive years, must be enrolled in a minimum of one class per day in the school that they plan to compete for, their families must submit grade information to their intended school affirming that the student is passing all courses, and the student must complete all statewide tests mandated by the Indiana Department of Education. Further, the IHSAA’s conditions state that “the student, in conjunction with the school, provide proof to the IHSAA that the spirit of the eligibility rules will not be compromised including passing a physical examination and participating in the required number of practices in a given sport.”
“Today, the IHSAA Board of Directors expanded the opportunity for additional high school-aged students in our state to experience
the values of education-based athletics,” stated Commissioner Bobby Cox in a press release Monday. “New rule 12‐5 now allows a non‐public, non‐accredited student the prospect of presenting themselves as a candidate for an interscholastic team under specific conditions. I am very pleased that the Board of Directors has embraced this concept as our Association continues its pursuit of becoming more inclusive while maintaining appropriate academic standards.”