Varsity Extra

Sanction vs. sponsor — What’s the deal with Idaho’s state baseball tournaments?

Rocky Mountain’s Nick Romano is tagged out by Capital’s Tristan Newell during a rundown between first and second base May 9, 2017, at Capital High.
Rocky Mountain’s Nick Romano is tagged out by Capital’s Tristan Newell during a rundown between first and second base May 9, 2017, at Capital High. kgreen@idahostatesman.com

The Idaho High School Activities Association sponsors the state softball, track, tennis and golf tournaments every spring. And every spring, the same question comes up: Why doesn’t it sponsor the state baseball tournaments?

Two reasons.

One, the coaches of each classification have run their own state tournament since at least the 1970s, and no one is clamoring for the IHSAA to step in, IHSAA Executive Director Ty Jones said in 2016.

And two, adding a boys state tournament without adding a girls tournament would hinder Idaho’s progress in meeting Title IX requirements.

“The kids that play baseball have the opportunity to play in a state tournament, and it’s an invitational,” Jones said a year ago. “It’s really not run that different from how we would set it up.”

The IHSAA still sanctions baseball as a sport. It just doesn’t sponsor its state tournament. The differences are mostly limited to paperwork. But the setup has led to some oddities.

For example, Treasure Valley Community College in Ontario, Ore., hosts Idaho’s 3A state baseball tournament. And the 4A state tournament left the Treasure Valley for the first time in its history in 2016, when the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls hosted. It hits the road again this spring to Idaho Falls' Melaleuca Field.

An additional wrinkle comes with the trophies. All IHSAA-sponsored state tournaments in team sports hand out first-place, second-place, third-place and consolation champion trophies. Some baseball tournaments award the winner of the consolation bracket as the fourth-place finisher.

The Idaho Statesman detailed the sanction vs. sponsored debate in 2016 when the 4A tournament left the Valley. You can read the full story here.

Michael Lycklama: 208-377-6424, @MichaelLycklama

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