Utah 3A basketball: UHSAA explains why there are no consolation games this year
Cedar City • There are no consolation games in the Class 3A girls' and boys' basketball tournaments this week in Cedar City for the first time.
Kevin Dustin, assistant director for the Utah High School Activities Association, said Friday that scheduling college arenas such as Southern Utah University's Centrum, where this year's event is being held is becoming increasingly difficult.
For example, SUU needed the Centrum for a college women's game Saturday. So the school moved the game to 2 p.m. and the girls' and boys' title games were scheduled later in the day.
Dustin said he has fielded few complaint calls, but some people have wondered why the format changed.
The UHSAA tried to hold 3A consolation games at some area high schools, but they liked the state tournament atmosphere and were not successful.
Dustin said that as long as the 1A and 2A tournaments are held at Richfield's Sevier Valley Center, consolation games in the smaller schools' classifications will continue. That facility, which has the atmosphere as many of the smaller college arenas, has no conflicts.
Class 4A and 5A dropped consolation games years ago, largely due to arena scheduling issues.
The University of Utah's Huntsman Center will be hosting tournament games for the first time this year since 1998. Dustin praised the university for working with the Pac-12 Conference in making that happen and said the Ute coaching staff has been very supportive of hosting the tournaments.
He said that Utah and Weber State's Dee Events Center will alternate as venues for the big tournaments at least through 2018.
Dustin said a great part of the high school tournament experience is allowing prep players to play on the big stage of a college arena. In many states, only the semifinals or even the title game are held at colleges due to scheduling conflicts.