Big changes are being proposed for the Iowa boys state basketball tournament.
SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KTIV) -
Iowa just completed their 103rd year of boys state basketball tournaments and since 1923 it's been in Des Moines. There is a proposal to play first round "state" games at regional sites, including Sioux City, with the four remaining teams in each class then going to Des Moines.
Under the plan the current six-day state format would be trimmed to a three-day tournament, starting on a Thursday.
The Assistant Director of the Athletic Association, Todd Tharp, says formal discussions were held this weekend and told KTIV it's "quite possible" the new format could be in effect next year.
The Association has also talked with venues, including the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, about hosting those first round state games and Tharp says the regional sites were "very intrigued and interested".
In 1999, the Iowa boys postseason, drew a record 319,000 fans. Those numbers have fallen by about 80,000 over the past five tournaments.
"We want these kids to play in front of crowds," said IHSAA Assistant Executive Director Todd Tharp. "That's the whole atmosphere of basketball and that's what we want to bring back to it. We want people to be able to follow their student-athletes wherever they go."
Not everyone is happy with the proposal.
Boyden-Hull Athletic Director Jeff Meyn sent a letter to the Association, saying "we are vehemently opposed to this. These games need to be played in Des Moines. By changing the format we are taking great memories away from a lot of athletes."
"We listen to our administrators," added Tharp. "We're an administrator-driven organization. If they say 'this is the most ridiculous thing you've talked about'...we'll say OK, we're good to go. If they say 'this is something that's going to be a positive, we think these are issues we need to continue to go forward with', then we will take their advice from that."
Another formal meeting with the IHSAA's Representative Council will be held in June.
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