KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett has been authorized by the board to begin discussions with the University of Kentucky, Rupp Arena/Lexington Center and the Southeastern Conference about the feasibility of moving the boys’ state basketball tournament to the week prior to the girls’ state tournament. Such a move would place the boys’ state tournament in what is traditionally the final week of college basketball’s regular season and would not occur earlier than 2020.
Tackett raised the possibility of changing the start date of the boys’ tournament in March ahead of the 100th edition of the event. He’s cited the explosion in popularity of the men’s NCAA Tournament as a factor in declining attendance (the boys’ Sweet Sixteen goes head-to-head with the first weekend of the Big Dance).
“They’re having to make a very uncomfortable choice now with the popularity of the tournament,” Tackett said of the 4,000-5,000 fans who annually buy state tournament tickets in advance. He’s heard from fans who say they’ve rented a hotel room in Lexington for the weekend and ended up spending more time in their bed watching NCAA games than those being played in Rupp Arena.
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Data will be gathered and examined by the board of control at a future meeting.
“They want to see if it’s feasible first,” Tackett said. “Are the SEC Network and UK willing to work with us to do what happened with Florida in 2013 where we have a (UK home) game right in the middle of our Sweet Sixteen? That wasn’t easy on the people running the tournament.”
▪ The inaugural KHSAA State Dance Competition will take place at Frederick Douglass High School in Lexington on Saturday, Dec. 16, 2017. Further details about the new event will be distributed to schools soon.
▪ Beginning with the 2018 seasons, baseball and softball will not start until the first Monday after the final state basketball tournament has concluded. Also beginning with the 2018 season, the international tiebreaker for softball (innings start with a runner on second base) will be used in all games once a contest reaches the 10th inning.
▪ More tidbits from the KHSAA’s final meeting of the 2016-17 school year, including information about football cross-bracketing, a proposed alignment for track-and-field/cross country and an increase in school membership dues — the first increase since 1995-96 — can be found at bit.ly/2r3Ylv6.