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Why are the high school gyms in Indiana so big?



Indianapolis, Indiana – Some of the biggest high school gyms in the nation may be found in Indiana. According to a list provided by Hickory Husker, one of the numerous web affiliates of, over 30 gyms in the state can accommodate 5,000 spectators or more.

According to the same list, the maximum capacity of three gyms in Indiana is more than 8,000. The maximum capacity of twelve high school gyms in Indiana is above 7,000.

Although there are no official rankings of the biggest high school arenas in the nation, Hickory Husker claims that New Castle’s gym can accommodate over 8,400 people, making it one of the biggest.

Why are the gyms in Indiana so big? Wabash College claims that to compete for the opportunity to host regional and sectional competitions, Indiana high schools began erecting sizable arenas.

Stephen Webb, a former professor at Wabash College, revealed that in certain extreme situations, schools constructed gyms with maximum capacities larger than the populations of their towns.

The competition to host basketball tournaments at the regional and sectional levels becomes softer over time. Webb ascribed the decrease to Indiana’s 1997 decision to switch from a single-class postseason structure to a four-class one that distinguished between large and small universities. Webb also pointed out that fewer schools overall were advocating to hold sectional and regional competitions as a result of school consolidation.

A city could benefit much from holding a high school basketball tournament in the 1920s and beyond. More than 40,000 people flocked to Milan, Indiana, according to Webb, to celebrate the school’s shocking victory over Muncie Central in the 1954 state championship game.

To decide which schools would get to host regional and sectional tournaments, the Indiana High School Athletic Association has recently implemented more precise rules. The organization’s website states that considerations for selecting regional hosts include the number of tournaments held in other sports, the travel distance for participating schools, the invitations submitted by principals, the facilities, rotation, classification, success, and satisfactory management of prior events.

Sectional play for the 2024 Indiana High School Boys Basketball Postseason Tournament will start on February 27. The IHSAA Girls Basketball Postseason Tournament is scheduled to begin on January 31st this year.


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