KHSAA votes to keep Sweet 16 Girls' Tournament in NKY one more year
CINCINNATI (WKRC) - The Kentucky High School Athletic Association Board of Control on Wednesday voted to keep the girls’ Sweet Sixteen state basketball tournament at Northern Kentucky University's BB&T Arena for one more year among several decisions it made during a meeting at the KHSAA offices in Lexington.
The Board voted to move the girls' Sweet 16 to Rupp Arena for 2019 and 2020. The location of the 2020 girls’ basketball tournament included an option to reconsider that year’s tournament award if a corporate title partner cannot be obtained.
“We are very fortunate to be in a position where there are multiple cities competing for the right to host our girls’ basketball tournament, as that has not always been the case,” said Commissioner Julian Tackett in a press release. “BB&T Arena is an outstanding facility and has proven to be a great fit over the last two years. At the same time, the Board recognizes the potential to draw greater audiences by moving the event to a venue like Rupp Arena.”
The Board of Control also opted to move the KHSAA state football finals from Bowling Green to Lexington in 2017 and 2018 with the games to be played at the University of Kentucky's Kroger Field.
For the last eight years, the football finals were played at Houchens-LT Smith Stadium on the campus of Western Kentucky University, but WKU’s football success within their conference resulted in the order of games being reshuffled at the last minute during each of the last two years due to the C-USA Championship game.
“While we are eternally grateful for the efforts of our tremendous partners, Western Kentucky University, Russell Athletic and the city of Bowling Green, over the last eight years, it cannot be understated that the issues that arose over the last two years were a detriment to our event,” said Tackett. “This impacted the fan experience, particularly of those teams forced to play late on a Sunday evening, and certainly affected vital revenue to the Association. We are excited about the opportunity provided by the University of Kentucky, which has proven to be an outstanding partner with some of our other championship events, to try and grow the football finals at a more geographically centered location with a pre-determined schedule.”
The state football finals were last played in Lexington in 1976 at Commonwealth Stadium (now Kroger Field), after previously calling UK's Stoll Field home from 1959-1966 and 1968-1972.
Among other action Wednesday, the Board authorized the Commissioner to begin discussions with the University of Kentucky, Rupp Arena and the Lexington Center, and the Southeastern Conference about the feasibility of moving the boys’ state basketball tournament to the week prior to the girls’ tournament not earlier than 2020, with the data from those discussions to be presented to the Board at a future meeting.