MHSAA Basketball Finals Could Be on the Move

EAST LANSING – Although the high school boys basketball season just concluded this past weekend, the Michigan High School Athletic Association is already hard at work planning next year’s state finals.

Thanks to a new NCAA ruling that allows college sites to host the first two rounds of the women’s basketball tournament, the MHSAA is exploring possible options for a new venue to host its state finals weekends.

Michigan State’s Breslin Center currently plays host to the MHSAA girls and boys basketball state finals for two consecutive weekends in March. As MSU wishes to keep the option open for its women’s basketball program hosting the NCAA Tournament, the girls state finals could be affected twice over the next three years while it could affect the boys finals once.

"In a perfect world, if we had our choice, and I think if people had their choice, we’d stay right here in East Lansing,” MHSAA Assistant Director Mark Uyl said. “The fact of the matter is, as much excitement as gets generated this weekend with this tournament, other communities and other cities look at that and say we’d maybe like to be a part of that, too. So, because of that we’re hoping to get a lot of bids that make it a tough call for us because we’ll have so many good options at the end of the day.

"The ideal venue is certainly where it’s big enough to accommodate the largest crowd that you’d ever have, because you don’t ever want someone turned away, out of fear that they won’t be able to get a ticket. You need a place that has plenty of parking. And a place to where fans enjoy the experience.  So those are really the three big things that we look for in any venue."

The boys state finals has called the Breslin Center home since 1994, while the girls have played in a variety of venues since 1990, moving permanently to East Lansing in 2010. The girls finals have previously been staged at Battle Creek’s Kellogg Arena (1990-96), Central Michigan University (1997-2003, MSU (2004-06) and Eastern Michigan University (2008-09).

"We’re currently working on two tracks,” Uyl said. “The first track is to see what venues are interested in hosting girls basketball, boys basketball or both together, so that’ s kind of track number one, is seeing what’s out there. Track number two is a longer conversation, and it’s looking at our calendar, saying is it as simple as moving things a week or two on the calendar… Or, is it even a part of completely scrambling the eggs, and breaking our tournament mold that we have now, with potentially boys and girls finals being played together on the same weekend… Is that an alternative that needs more study, more thought, more conversation?

"We’re going to take a look at the bids that come in, the amenities that they offer, the advantages, or maybe the drawbacks that each of those venue opportunities, and we have to make a decision very, very quickly for 2018."

The MHSAA hopes to have a decision in place for next year’s finals by early May.

Categories: Boys Basketball, Girls Basketball