A recent editorial in the Argus Leader states that the South Dakota High School Activities Association should just do the inevitable and move all of its state basketball tournaments to Sioux Falls.
The gist of the editorial is reasoning aimed at not having state tournaments in Rapid City any longer, citing a derth of fans at this year’s “AA” boys’ and girls’ state tournaments.
Which, frankly, is a pretty narrow criteria for such a broad proclamation, doncha think?
I touched on this train of thought in 2015, when all three of the state volleyball tournaments were held in Sioux Falls.
My point then was that just because it is easier for the SDHSAA to have all of the tournaments in one place doesn’t mean that it is best for everyone.
That weekend, the Class “B” State volleyball tournament tipped off at 4 p.m. in the afternoon. Big whoop.
Win your title, get your medals and trophy, pose for your picture and then get off the floor, as there is another game ready to take place.
While there were not many fans visible on television for the “AA” tournaments, one of the reasons could be that the Rushmore Civic Center staff are VERY serious about limiting the lower level to students only. Students tend to sit on the ends of the court and not many people, other than media set behind the bench, the view that is most commonly seen on television.
Also, the “AA” tournaments are traditionally the most poorly attended. Go figure, huh?
In fact, the only tournament that I watched this year, and I watched portions of all of them online, that had a full section on the screen was the girls’ “B” tournament at Huron Arena.
Sioux Falls does have the newest facilities and more hotel rooms than any other city in the state, no argument there.
But there is something to be said about offering a unique experience to the state’s athletes. Perhaps not lumping all three tournaments in one place at one time would make the experience more memorable for all who participate.
Huron Arena is more than 60 years old and is still viewed statewide as the best venue to watch a basketball game, bar none.
The editorial also states that while the opinion is not a ‘chamber of commerce’ approach, it then goes on to state that Sioux Falls tournaments are more profitable than those in Rapid City, with the implication that it entails other cities as well. The extra profits, the op/ed states, could go to assist other sports that aren’t money makers.
Sure, all of the football championships are held at the DakotaDome, but that could certainly change if there was another enclosed football venue in the state.
And while I couldn’t get profit numbers from the past few tournaments from SDHSAA, I find it impossible that Class “B” Tournaments in Huron don’t turn a substantial profit.
Particularly when you look at this picture, sent by Huron Activities Director Terry Rotert, of the east side of Huron Arena during the first championship semifinal game at this year’s “B.”
Filled to the rafters.
Why not let the tournaments continue as they are? Let each class and gender have its tournament be the big thing in town, rather than sharing the spotlight with all the others.