When it comes to the high school state basketball championships, the tinkering never seems to end.
Or the wholesale makeovers.
In an effort to find ways to make these tournaments more efficient, fan-friendly and cost effective, the WIAA’s State Basketball Format Committee has developed three new formats and is asking for input with a survey that was released Thursday on the WIAA Live app.
As you might expect, all three proposals would have a big impact on Yakima, which in recent years has hosted the Class 2A and 1A boys and girls tournaments over four days in the SunDome.
The option with the biggest potential impact — huge, actually — would have Yakima host 192 games over 12 days, with first-round and quarterfinal games in the SunDome for all six classifications. The semifinals and championship games would then be held in Tacoma and Spokane.
The other two options involve “super regionals” and second of these would essentially have quarterfinals in all classes played in Yakima over three days with the possibility of also hosting the 1A, 2B and 1B semifinals and championship games the next week.
The first super regional option could take Yakima out of the equation completely with the first two rounds — both single elimination — played at regional sites. The 4A, 3A and 2A final fours would be in Tacoma with the 1A, 2B and 1B in either Yakima or Spokane.
The “Yakima” option is certainly an eye-opener with a massive potential economic boost to the city, although the major drawback is we would host no semifinals or title games.
In this proposal, we would start with the smaller classes, hosting first-round and quarterfinal games for Class 1B on Feb. 22-23 (Monday, Tuesday), followed by 2B on Wednesday and Thursday and 1A on Friday and Saturday. The semifinals and finals would be played in the Spokane Arena on March 5-6.
Yakima’s second week, with only one day’s rest, would feature the larger classes with 2A openers and quarterfinals on March 1-2, also Monday and Tuesday. The 3A move in Wednesday and Thursday and the 4A take over on Friday and Saturday. The semifinals and finals would be played in the Tacoma Dome on March 12-13.
All qualifiers in this proposal would be guaranteed two games, but there would be no specific placing games for trophies. And the semifinal losers would share third-place trophies rather than play for third and fourth. This proposal would also force the season to go a week later, an overlap with spring sports that WIAA is trying to avoid.
In the second super regional option, first-round games would be single elimination and played at regional sites. The quarterfinals, also elimination games, would all be played in the SunDome in the second week — the 1B and 2B on Thursday, 1A and 2A on Friday and 3A and 4A on Saturday.
Tacoma would then host the semifinals and finals for 2A, 3A and 4A in the third week. The final-four teams for 1B, 2B and 1A would move on to either Spokane or Yakima, or another unspecified site. An asterisk accompanies this designation of Spokane or Yakima, noting “or another comparable venue as deemed appropriate and approved by the WIAA Executive Board.”
In the first super regional option, regional sites would have first-round and quarterfinal games over two weeks. The semifinals and finals would be the same as above in the second super regional option.
In the current format, 16 qualifiers play at regional sites followed by 12-team, four-day tournaments in Tacoma, Yakima and Spokane.
In the survey, the WIAA is providing financial projections for each option. The option expected to generate the least net revenue is Yakima hosting the first two rounds for all classifications. The SunDome is far cheaper to rent than the Tacoma Dome or Spokane Arena, but any option with regional play features greater revenue potential since fans are closer to the games.
If the committee recommends a new format, it would be sent to the WIAA Executive Board for final evaluation.
The survey will be available through May 20 and can be found at www.wiaa.com.