For the first time in the 95-year history of the KHSAA Boys’ Sweet 16®, the tournament championship game will be played sometime other than Saturday night.
The traditional state tournament format will undergo a transformation for the 2013 event due to potential scheduling conflicts with Rupp Arena.
“We received a request a few days ago from the University to consider other Saturday (and potentially Sunday) alternatives in the event that the final schedule for 2012-2013 necessitated the Wildcats playing at home on Saturday, March 9,” said KHSAA Commissioner Julian Tackett. “The 2013 scheduling has been a constantly evolving challenge for a while as we had previously surrendered our contracted dates for the arena to allow UK to host the NCAA Second/Third round that year.”
The semifinals, a doubleheader that has been played on Saturday morning for more than fifty years, will move to Saturday night while the championship will be played at 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. The opening and quarterfinal rounds will remain on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday as in previous years. Exact tip-off times for the semifinals have not been confirmed and will be announced at a later date.
The decision was made on the part of the Association to eliminate the potential scheduling conflict with the University of Kentucky men’s basketball program on Saturday, March 9 and measure affects the 2013 tournament only.
“It is important that the two largest and most tradition rich clients sharing the arena work together on a solution when there comes that time that we both need the facility,” Tackett noted.
“They say that necessity is the mother of invention,” Tackett continued. “While we all like to be reverent to tradition it’s not a bad idea to try something new and we have certainly been willing to do that in the last few years. The format of our tournament, particularly Saturday, has been a discussion topic for years with coaches, fans and media. Circumstances have created both a need and an opportunity for us to try something different for one year and we will see what happens with it. The worst that can happen is we go back to the formula we know has worked for most of our 94 years.”
Tackett emphasized the reason the Association decided to make the change at this time is twofold. First, it gives longtime fans of the event ample time to make changes to travel and lodging plans in Lexington for the week of March 6-10 prior to any final announcement by the SEC as to the Kentucky schedule. Second, since both the KHSAA and University of Kentucky have a scheduling overlap, the KHSAA’s preemptive decision is a simple case of wanting to be a good neighbor and partner to not only to the staff of Rupp Arena, but also the University, which has assisted the Association over the years through use of its facilities and personnel for championship events.
“We appreciate the KHSAA not only for their working with the University on hosting the second/third rounds of the NCAA, but in helping through this unprecedented schedule conflict,” said DeWayne Peevy, Executive Associate Athletic Director / External Operations at the University of Kentucky. “We both need the arena and in this way, we both have access.”
The format of the Houchens Industries/KHSAA Girls’ Sweet 16® at E.A. Diddle Arena in Bowling Green the following week will not change.
“Without the necessity due to scheduling conflicts, we did not think it would be fair to the participants and fans of the girls’ tournament to revise that schedule, and arbitrarily switch them to a new format that has not been tried yet,” said Tackett. “This change is being made because of a scheduling conflict with the boys’ tournament. No such conflict exists with the girls’ event in Bowling Green. But after the 2013 tournament, we will review the situation as we do each year, and make any necessary future decisions.”