The WIAA executive board voted in favor of approving a change to format for the state’s high-school basketball tournaments, starting the 2010-11 school year at Friday’s Rep Assembly meeting in Renton.
WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese called the state basketball tournaments the state’s sacred cow, but over the years with a dwindling of revenue, that “money cow” is getting skinnier.
With that in mind, the idea is to tweak the way state tournaments are run in Washington, creating more consolidated and exciting tournaments that will drive down costs and increase revenue. Colbrese said Washington was the only state in the country that ran a full 16-team, double-elimination tournament.
In this new format, the tournament would still have 16 teams qualify for state, but the first round would be played at regional sites.
“We truly believe we can create a better event for kids and fans,” Colbrese said. “I truly believe that’s what’s driving it. The reason for that is, if people really thought what we were providing them right now is the way it should be, our attendance during consolation brackets would be greater.”
There was some talk of delaying the move one year, but since the state operates on two-year cycles, a delay would have prevented changes from being made for three winter sports seasons, so the executive board decided to proceed.
After the first round at regional sites, rounds 2-4 would be modified double-elimination, eight-team tournaments. There would be three sites with two classifications at each site and all state tournaments would be held over the same weekend, March 3-5.
The 4A and 3A tournaments will be held at the Tacoma Dome. The 2A and 1A will be held at the SunDome in Yakima and the 1B and 2B will be at the Spokane Arena.
It will be a two-court setup at each site and trophies will be awarded for first through sixth places.
“If what I’m hearing is accurate, and I think it is, by the end of the day we will have three sites that will each host two state basketball tournaments with eight teams each, with the actually first round of the state sites being at regional events,” Colbrese said. “The seeding process and site selection will come at a later date.”
One of the driving forces for this is the overlap between the winter and spring seasons.
Another problem is poor attendance at consolation games.