UIL State Basketball Tournament Likely Headed to San Antonio
There were some big issues discussed and partially decided this week at the UIL Legislative Council meetings in Austin -- among them the future of the boys and girls state basketball tournaments.
On Wednesday, members of the council voted to relocate one of Texas' signature sporting events -- a fixture hosted by the capital city for more than 90 years -- to the Alamodome in San Antonio, pending formal approval from Alamodome officials.
The change has been talked about at great length by school officials and fans over the past couple of years because of the increasing lodging and logistical concerns created by the ever-growing popularity of the South By Southwest interactive music and film festival, which takes place during the state tournament.
Teams and fans alike have complained about the spiked prices and availability of hotel rooms within the city limits of Austin.
"I don’t have anything against Austin, but from an accessibility standpoint, I think it’s in the best interest for them to move it," said Laneville coach Hosea Lee, who led his team to the state tournament last season, back in March.
Lee said that Laneville's team stayed at a hotel in Round Rock, 23 miles north of the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. But in the case of Nazareth, which also qualified for the state tournament, its team was forced to lodge in Marble Falls -- a 100-mile round trip from Austin.
The Alamodome opened in 1993 and has hosted a variety of events, from concerts to Final Fours to college football bowl games. The site also served as the home for the San Antonio Spurs from 1993-2002.
The San Antonio venue was the logical choice, as the UIL preferred buildings with capacities of at least 15,000 in cities that could handle the infrastructure.
Other options included the American Airlines Center in Dallas, Houston's Toyota Center and the AT&T Center in San Antonio -- all three the homes for the state's NBA franchises. However, the Mavericks, Rockets and Spurs would have to be on the road for consecutive weekends to accommodate both the girls and boys state tournaments.
If an agreement can be reached between the UIL and the Alamodome, the change of venue would go into effect for the 2014-15 school year.
- There was discussion but nothing finalized concerning the future home of the UIL football state championships. AT&T Stadium in Arlington hosted all 10 11-man title games last December, but there is speculation that Houston or San Antonio could be awarded the hosting rights in the near future.
- The UIL passed an amendment which would allow the top seeds from each Class 6A district in football to host first-round playoff games at their respective home stadiums. If the rule receives final approval, it would go into effect for the 2015 season.
- An proposed amendment to institute a "mercy rule," similar to six-man, for 11-man football games failed. The proposal came about following the national attention both Aledo and Refugio received for lopsided victories in recent years.