The national girls’ and boys’ basketball tournament will have a new format for the third consecutive year.
This time around, the NSAA hopes the format is here to stay.
While a three-day tournament was the norm in previous years, the NSAA approved the change to a four-day state tournament format at its monthly board meeting on Friday.
Each of the girls’ and boys’ state basketball tournaments will now run Wednesday through Saturday, with a day off for classes that begin play Wednesday.
Notably, Lincoln Public Schools sites will no longer be used for state basketball competitions other than third-place play. Fan experience, including seating limitations and parking availability, was a major consideration in the NSAA’s decision to move contests away from LPS gyms.
Instead, Pinnacle Bank Arena and the Devaney Center will host all state tournament games.
“These kids deserve to play in a championship venue, and Pinnacle Bank Arena and Devaney are the championship venues,” board member Ryan Ruhl said during the open commentary session.
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A survey sent to member schools following the April board meeting revealed a preference for the four-day format rather than the traditional three days. According to NSAA Executive Director Jay Bellar, about 60% of schools supported the four-day format and 40% favored three days of competition.
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The NSAA also hopes that increased attendance revenue at the larger arenas will help offset the cost of renting the Devaney Center for an additional two days. Bellar said renting two LPS sites for one day cost about $8,000, while renting the Devaney Center for one day came at a cost of $30,000.
“The trade-off is financial, but I think the image and convenience of bringing fans to these venues speaks volumes,” said board member Bob Reznicek.
Future considerations for the NSAA include how district speech contests will be affected by the new format and how to rotate classes that begin their state tournament journey on Wednesday as opposed to Thursday.
Photos: For the third year in a row, Class A heavyweights Bellevue West and Millard North face off in the championship