MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - The Wisconsin high school basketball tournaments are one step away from being moved to Green Bay.
The WIAA’s Board of Control has endorsed a five-year deal to move the boys’ and girls’ tournaments from their long-time locations in Madison to the Resch Center.
But the board is giving the UW one last chance to assure that Badger and NCAA hockey events will not conflict with the normal dates for the prep tournaments – the second weekend in March for the girls, and the third weekend in March for the boys.
The girls’ tournament has been moved back in recent years to avoid conflicts with UW hockey at the Kohl Center, but it will move back to its traditional date next year – which is conflict with Badger hockey.
The UW said it went a long way toward opening up the arena for the high school tournaments, by arranging to have the new Big Ten hockey conference hold its tournament elsewhere at a neutral site beginning in 2014.
But the WIAA pointed to other conflicts. Its director, Dave Anderson, says his group needs to count on the Kohl Center being open – and if not, the board has approved a move to Green Bay.
The move could take effect next year, even though the WIAA has a contract with the UW through 2013. PMI President Ken Wachter says they don't know if the WIAA will ask the Resch Center to begin hosting next year.
It would be a significant move, because the boys’ tournament has been played in Madison since 1920 with the exception of 1936 when it was in Wisconsin Rapids. And the girls’ tourney has been in the state’s Capital City every year since it began in 1976.
Green Bay was aggressive in pursuing the effect, and it even enlisted the Packers to help by providing a chalk talk to tournament teams, or perhaps tours of Lambeau.
Parking is much more plentiful, and the Packer stadium district has offered up to $50,000 to the WIAA to cover its first-year expenses.