The WIAA just announced changes to the basketball state tournament format. I’m at the meeting in Renton and will update this later with comments from Executive Board members.
Here are the gist of the changes:
A year after overhauling the basketball state tournament format, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association has tweaked the format.
At its executive board meeting Monday in Renton, the board approved a new format that calls for single-elimination first-round games to be played at local sites on a Friday and Saturday. The eight winners in each classification will advance to the final site – Tacoma Dome for 4A/3A, Yakima SunDome for 2A/1A and Spokane Arena for 2B/1B – where the state quarterfinals will begin on the following Thursday.
Boys’ first-round games will be played on Friday and girls’ games will be on Saturday and days will alternate in rotating years. This will allow fans of schools that have boys and girls teams competing in different locations to attend both games. This was the source many complaints about the format used this year and executive director Mike Colbrese said the board made it a priority to rectify the issue.
The new format differs from the one used in 2011 in that teams can no longer lose a game in the first round and still advance – Clover Park lost in the regional round of the state tournament before it went on to win the Class 2A boys state title – and boys and girls will play on different nights. No changes were made to the format of when teams reach the final eight. Those games will remain double-elimination.
The board hashed out tournament format proposals, draw criteria and objectives at its meeting on Sunday and continued to discuss the pros and cons of each when it reconvened on Monday. The board briefly discussed the possibility of returning to the previous format, but it was quickly pointed out that it was not fiscally feasible. The 2011 state tournaments brought in almost $37,000 more than was budgeted, while the 2010 events fell $80,000 short.
Some board members expressed concern about the financial toll that the previous 16-team tournament levied on schools and that spending five nights at a tournament venue was too expensive.