Plans to introduce fan voting as part of the Hall of Fame election have been abandoned for this year. Officials say they expect to implement the idea for the Class of 2014.
“We absolutely hope to do it in the future,” said John Doleva, the CEO and president of the Springfield, Mass., basketball museum. “It’s a big priority for the Hall of Fame and for chairman [Jerry] Colangelo. It was just a little more complicated than we thought in terms of execution and getting ready and getting ramped up.”
Officials lined up a media partner, ESPN, to promote the concept. But the Hall did not have important sponsorships in place, prompting the decision to postpone.
“We would love to find a corporation to get behind this and support it through their media and help them sell product,” Doleva said. “It’s one of those things when you think about it, they’d be able to impact the vote and to get chatter going back and forth about the finalists and ‘Should this person be in? Should that person be in?’ I think there’s a lot of value there. We’re hoping to, in 2014, definitely do that.”
Under the working plan, the anonymous voters selected by the Hall — basketball officials, former players and/or coaches, athletic directors, media — would still decide the finalists. Mass participation would begin once that list is revealed at All-Star weekend in February, with fans part of the second layer of balloting that decides enshrinement later that summer. The top three finishers would get one additional vote toward the final decision, providing a 25th chance to get the 18 votes needed for induction rather than the current model of 18 from 24 electors.
That Hall proposal would give fans a strong voice, possibly the difference between election and disappointment, without the level of influence some consider would turn the process into a popularity contest along the lines of choosing the All-Star starters. The public could not have a great impact without a sizable support from basketball insiders.