Steamboat Springs The Colorado High School Activities Association is taking applications for knowledgeable basketball fans interested in helping determine the postseason fate of prep teams.
Beginning this season, Class 4A and Class 5A will follow the same format: Teams will be selected, seeded and placed in a 48-team bracket by members of an appointed committee.
Last year, 32 teams were selected in 4A.
CHSAA is searching for interested Western Slope residents to ensure proper geographical representation for a balanced selection process.
Steamboat Springs' basketball teams play in the Class 4A Western Slope League.
"This is the first time 4A has taken this big a step," CHSAA assistant commissioner Chuck Howell said. "The committee will literally pick. They are the last voice. All I do is oversee the operation. They literally will say, 'These are the teams that will be in the tournament.'"
But with that power comes a long list of responsibilities to ensure fairness and accuracy in selecting the 48-team field, Howell added.
Applicants should have a high school basketball background but cannot be a current coach, official or administrator at a 4A or 5A school. People can apply for either a boys or girls committee.
Interested applicants must have an interest in either boys or girls basketball and demonstrate a willingness to watch a minimum of 20 regular season games.
The applicants also must be willing to stay in contact with league representatives during the season to obtain information regarding member teams of each league, keeping the selection committee up-to-date regarding schedules, results and other information.
Class 5A has been following the format for years, and last year was one of the more successful seasons.
"(The committee) has looked at the whole season of performance," Howell said. "Last year was the fewest number of complaints from the general public. We anticipated it to have the most because certain teams did not get in, but most people felt the 48 that went deserved to be there. When it was seeded, it played truer to form than any previous tournament hosted."
One advantage 5A committee members have is the proximity of many of the schools. In Class 4A, however, committee members will be expected to log many miles to fulfill their requirement to view at least 20 games, including games outside their town.
For example, a person living in Steamboat Springs will be expected to watch games in Montrose or southern Colorado or the Eastern Plains to truly get a feel for where the best teams reside.
Howell said one committee member in the past went to more than 50 games in Class 5A girls basketball simply because he loved watching. Teams are guaranteed to be seen at least twice, but bubble teams likely will be seen more.
Class 4A used a modified version of this format last year, with committee members watching teams, but Steamboat Springs boys basketball coach Kelly Meek said he isn't sure when the Sailors were scouted.
But he said he would remind his players this season that every game is important because no one knows when Steamboat will be watched.
"We have three tournaments to start the season," Meek said. "We go to Roaring Fork. We have our tournament with five area large schools coming, which is good. Then we have a league tournament at Moffat County."
Meek said he was pleased that CHSAA expanded the state field from 32 to 48.
The deadline to apply is Sept. 10. The online form can be found at www.chsaa.org.
Successful applicants will receive a CHSAA card to admit the member and one guest to events and to observe games.
They also will be reimbursed for travel to required committee meetings. People traveling more than 60 miles one way will receive mileage, and committee members traveling more than 200 miles one way will receive lodging.
Successful applicants also will receive complimentary reserved seating at the CHSAA 4A/5A State Basketball Final Four Tournament.
A complete list of the required committee meetings is available on the registration form at CHSAA's official Web site.
-- To reach Melinda Mawdsley call 871-4208 or e-mail email@example.com