Sonny Fulks
Sonny Fulks
Managing Editor

Sonny Fulks is a graduate of Ohio State University where he pitched four varsity seasons for the Buckeyes from 1971 through 1974. He furthered his baseball experience as a minor league umpire for seven seasons, working for the Florida State League (A), the Southern League (AA), and the American Association (AAA). He has written for numerous websites, and for the past fourteen years has served as columnist and photo editor for The Gettysburg Magazine, published by the University of Nebraska Press, in Lincoln Nebraska. His interests include history, support for amateur baseball, the outdoors, and he has a music degree from Ohio State University.


If you’ve ever wondered why people mess with something that works, read on.  If you’ve ever wondered why fouls in January aren’t fouls in March, read on.  If you’ve ever wondered every year’s trophy looks exactly alike, read on.

Short and sweet, here are my final thoughts about basketball season for 2016, the state tournament, and some thoughts about at least one change that’s overdue at the high school level.

If you’ve ever wondered why the same fouls you see called in January aren’t called at the state tournament…you’re not alone.

Frankly, if the OHSAA wants to save some money they could take the game fees and mileage paid to referees and spend it on design for a different championship trophy.  Why?  Because they don’t get their money’s worth.  By and large, referees don’t call anything at the state tournament and no one understands why.

The same fouls you see called during the regular season gets a head shake at the state tournament.  Play on!  At least two of the finals were blood baths in terms of physical contact, and the three officials acted as if they were watching re-runs of  Bay Watch…Pamela Anderson in a torn bikini.

The Division I game between Lima Senior and Westerville should have been played in sumo outfits.

And the Division II game between Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary and John Glenn could have seen a record set for fouls called…had they only been called!  Akron played defense like Edward Scissorhands with their full-court press and the best the three officials could do was call a jump ball!

Again, no one understands basketball anymore, and officials have their hands tied by the directive to “evaluate” contact (rather than “call” contact) in terms of “advantage gained, or lost”.  You want to “respect the game”, as the old men tell the kids who play…start by telling the officials.  “Blow the whistle!”


Second, I must have heard 50 people complain about the Value City Arena as a venue for the Final Four.

“There’s no place to go to eat outside the arena…or drink,”  they whined. The parking lot across the street from the Schott looks like a refugee camp with all the campers and tail-gaters.

“There’s no place to stay,”  in reference of convenient accommodations.

“The arena’s too big and a terrible atmosphere for high school basketball compared to old St. John’s,”  said others.

“Why did they have to change in the first place?”

Well, no one could argue with any of the above, and if the OHSAA is as concerned about attendance as they profess, perhaps it is time to change venues…from Ohio State to the Nationwide District, downtown.  The arena’s the same size, but there’s restaurants everywhere you turn.  There’s plenty of hotels.  Everything’s within walking distance.  And, hey, change is just plain good sometimes.

It’s rumored that OSU wants it kept on campus to show off its facilities as a recruiting advantage, but when was the last time Ohio State appeared to care about a recruiting advantage in basketball?  Can you say…Luke Kennard?

If I wanted more people on-site for the games, how could it hurt the OHSAA to at least consider moving;  and at least move the girls tournament to an arena around the state that at least promises a full-house atmosphere?  You know…we’re doing this for the sake of the kids, after all (wink-wink).

And finally, the thought struck me during the trophy presentations that every year’s trophy looks exactly like every year’s trophy from as far back as 30 years, maybe?  I don’t know.

Sonny_thumb0216I know this, when you look at the football trophies at Coldwater and Marion Local you can’t tell them apart.  So why doesn’t the OHSAA spend some time and effort on the design of different looking trophies for its champions?  Why do they all have to be carbon copies?

If you watch the golf tournaments on TV those awards are unique, and frankly look like something you’d want to win.  Other sports have cool hardware, too.  So why not high school basketball in Ohio?

If they make a big deal out of featuring amateur school kids to sing the national anthem (and they should), maybe, too, they could dip into the talent pool of school kids with artistic design talent…and ask them to design a better, and more up-to-date trophy?

And that’s the last thing I have to say about basketball, and the tournament…this year!