I talked with KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett today after the Board of Control voted to move the girls’ basketball state tournament from WKU to Northern Kentucky University for 2016-17, as well as keep state softball in Owensboro through 2018. BG had entered a bid to host softball at Buchanon Park.
Tackett also confirmed WKU will continue to host the state football finals through 2018. Here are his comments:
On girls’ basketball site decision: “There is nothing that anyone did wrong. There was simply, as I observed and listened to the discussion, there were a number of the board members who wanted to try a new site. We could not ask more out of a host venue or a title partner than we’ve had with Bowling Green and Houchens. But the board did this action short term, for two years, so they could evaluate and see.”
Comparisons between proposals for WKU, NKU: “They ended up with a very similar net dollar sponsorship. Northern Kentucky offered more in terms of title sponsorship, but they’re going to charge a venue rental that’s not being charged at Western. There are some unknown costs when you’re dealing with new arenas. All the things that were spelled out were very comparable, with the exception of a couple very specific things, in security and police – things Western has done some fabulously over the years providing.”
Did Region 4’s decision to leave WKU affect anything? “It didn’t have anything to do with that. Some of the things they’ve made available for the state tournament, they don’t even do for local events. There was never anything negative said about anyone affiliated with Bowling Green. The overwhelming thing I heard from the discussion was that they wanted to see if trying something new would jumpstart the event and make it grow.”
Board choosing Owensboro over BG for softball: “Bowling Green had a fantastic proposal, but the current site came in with some community support that we’ve certainly never seen on the softball side and made sure some of the eventualities – such as if we have a rain day and have to keep teams in a hotel an extra day – that we don’t put a financial drain on the association. The sponsorship dollars were a big difference, and the other thing, frankly, was that there were some things identified to the Owensboro facility a year ago that were deficiencies, that they addressed. I would dare say that facilities like the one in Bowling Green gave them a model to look at.”
Keeping state football at WKU with Russell Athletic as sponsor: “Russell had a little turnover in some of their people in promotion, and with the girls’ state tournament, we just haven’t had a time to sit down and fine-tune that contract. The board has already authorized me to extend that contract through 2018. We’ve very comfortable. We know the Russell people are very supportive and have indicated they were on board for sure, so we definitely want to try to finalize that very, very soon.”