STEVENS POINT — Just two months ago it appeared that both the WIAA boys and girls state basketball tournaments would be moving to Green Bay.
But in what WIAA officials view as a win-win situation, Green Bay is getting a piece of the action, just not the tournament that caused the most concern for the city of Madison and boys basketball traditionalists.
The WIAA Board of Control voted unanimously on Tuesday in favor of executive director Dave Anderson's recommendation to keep the state boys basketball tournament in Madison through 2020 but move the girls tournament to the Green Bay area for two years beginning in 2013.
"The hub of it all has been venue availability, first and foremost," Anderson said. "The whole conversation began when the venues we believe we need for these very important events in our association's lifeblood wouldn't be available.
"Those conflicts have been removed in almost all instances. The proposal today acknowledges some conflicts remain in 2013 and 2014."
The recommendation will require the boys state basketball tournament to be played on the second weekend in March followed by the girls tournament on the third weekend for 2013 and 2014.
Anderson said this will allow the tournaments to return to the preferred weekends with an adjustment in the order of the tournaments to accommodate open weekends at the Kohl Center.
The boys basketball tournament has been held in Madison every year since 1920, with the exception of 1936, when it was held in Wisconsin Rapids.
A main concern of moving the boys basketball tournament was not only a loss of revenue but a capacity issue, Anderson said.
"This year five of the seven sessions at the boys tournament drew over 10,000 and a few over 11,000," Anderson said. "If the boys tournament moved to the Resch Center, which can accommodate approximately 9,300 for basketball, several thousand fans might have been turned away."
Included in Anderson's recommendation to keep boys basketball tournament in Madison was the extending of agreements to 2020 to also keep the state football, softball, individual and team wrestling and girls and boys golf championships in the Madison area.
But while the girls basketball tournament has been held in Madison since its inception in 1976, it will move to the Resch Center in Ashwaubenon for 2013 and 2014 to avoid scheduling conflicts at the Kohl Center that had threatened the future of both basketball tournaments remaining in the capital city.
"The girls coaches would prefer to stay in Madison and play in a venue other than the Kohl Center," WIAA associate director Deb Hauser said. "We struggled with that because we don't believe the next best venue is in Madison. We believe that is the Resch Center and that went into making that part of this decision."
The girls tournament has been held in the Kohl Center the past three seasons and in 1998, 2001, 2003 and 2005. It has also been held at the UW Field House in 2002 and Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Alliant Energy Center (2004, 2006-09) over the past decade.
The Resch Center, which opened in 2002, has been the host venue for the state girls volleyball tournament since 2002.
Following the Board of Control meeting, WIAA officials acknowledged the site of the girls tournament for 2015 and beyond is uncertain. While Anderson and Hauser did not rule out extending its stay in Ashwaubenon, they also confirmed that there are no foreseen facility conflicts at the Kohl Center from 2015 through 2020.
The status of the tournaments had been in flux since February, when the Board of Control approved Anderson's then recommendation to move the state boys and girls basketball tournaments to the Resch Center, pending WIAA executive staff clarification on facility issues with the UW Athletic Department.
Anderson said the main issue was the availability of the Kohl Center in 2013 and 2014. There is a potential conflict in 2013 if the Badgers men's hockey team is able to host a WCHA playoff series. A potential conflict also exists in 2014 if the UW secures hosting rights for the NCAA women's hockey Frozen Four.
However, Anderson said that "a lot has changed, obviously, since that recommendation. We were operating on information as I understood it in February. Since that time, the information and some of the obstructions we were confronted with have been removed."