A committee looking to alter the state high school boys and girls basketball tournaments is still in favor of resurrecting the 16-team, single-site, double-elimination format that died following the 2009-10 school year.
But it would come with some caveats.
That former 16-team format was one of four proposals the approximately 40-member committee, which was comprised of boys and girls basketball coaches, athletic directors, superintendents, Washington State Interscholastic Activities Association officials and others, will vote on at a time to be determined.
WIAA executive director Mike Colbrese said the votes would likely be counted by the first week of November.
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Most members raised their hands in support of the 16-team format during an informal vote near the end of Monday’s meeting at the Renton School District building.
The caveat? If the committee does vote for the old 16-team tournament, it would also have to present to the WIAA executive board in January a plan addressing the financial hurdles that led to its demise in the first place.
If they can’t — or the WIAA executive board doesn’t agree — the committee voted that it would then present its next best proposal and so on.
The other three proposals:
▪ A 16-team, modified double-elimination format.
The first round would be single-elimination, with games held at college sites (Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University, Saint Martin’s University, University of Puget Sound or others).
Winners would advance to an eight-team state tournament at double-court sites — Spokane Arena (Class 1B, 2B), Yakima SunDome (1A, 2A) and the Tacoma Dome (3A, 4A).
The tournament would take place in one week (Wednesday-Saturday).
▪ A 16-team, NCAA tournament-like format.
It would only be called the “state tournament” for the first two rounds — both single elimination. The next two rounds would take place a week later and, just like the NCAA, be called the “Final Four.”
Every team that reaches the Final Four would play for a state trophy.
The first two rounds would be held at three separate venues (two classifications per venue) with the final two rounds held the following week at two venues (three classifications per venue).
▪ The current state tournament format.
It’s almost identical to the aforementioned modified double-elimination format. Only the first round of single-elimination is considered the regional round of the state tournament and it’s held at mostly high school locations across the state.
That round is followed by a double-elimination tournament with the eight remaining teams held at double-court sites.
The drawback to this format is the locations of the first round. Some coaches have expressed that high school gymnasiums aren’t nearly as special as playing in a venue such as the Tacoma Dome.
It appeared the old 16-team, double-elimination format was the most popular of the four proposals.
But the bigger and greater the venue, the higher the cost. The WIAA cut its expenses from a high of about $710,000 during the 2008 state tournament to about $415,000 this past year because of the switch from the 16-team, double-elimination format to the regional format.
The state basketball tournament brought in about 38 percent of the WIAA’s total state tournament income last year, according to the WIAA.
TJ Cotterill: 253-597-8677