When you host 91 of the last 92 state boys basketball tournaments and every
girls event since they started playing for state titles in 1976, one can become a bit complacent. I believe that’s one of the reason’s why Madison and the Kohl Center is losing the WIAA boys and girls basketball tournaments to Green Bay and the Resch Center.
With all of its tradition, the people in Madison, without even knowing it, were taking the WIAA, its member schools and all of their fans for granted.
Madison city officials, as well as officials at the University knew they had the state’s championship tournaments in their back yard. They didn’t need to go out and impress anybody. The Kohl Center, which is home to the Wisconsin Badgers, accomplished that on its own.
The University didn’t seem overly concerned about potential scheduling conflicts, nor were they alarmed with high concession prices. If they were, they would have done something about it.
The City of Madison didn’t seem to concerned about rising costs for parking and the Visitor and Convention Bureau didn’t seem to concerned that area hotels were hitting fans in the wallets with 2-night minimum’s and high costs just because they could.
By the time they finally did start to show concern, it was too late. Green Bay already had wowed the WIAA with a proposal that addressed all of those issues along with additional measures that would make the tournament bigger and better.
UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez has said he won’t short-change the University’s athletic teams just to help the WIAA with its state tournament dates. And you know what, I wouldn’t expect him to.
Alvarez owes it to his programs at the UW to give them the best possible scenario’s to compete. If Mike Eaves hockey team earns home ice in the playoffs, they shouldn’t have to vacate the Kohl Center for another venue just because the state tournament is coming to town. That wouldn’t be fair to the hockey team.
Given the chance to host an NCAA women’s Frozen Four, the UW should jump all over that.
Unfortunately, the WIAA can’t continue to move their product around either. Executive Director Dave Anderson doesn’t want to move the tournament dates around every year. Anderson is looking for consistency and the state tournaments deserve it.
As the UW’s Athletic program has grown, their opportunities to occupy the Kohl Center for big late season events has grown with it.
Both parties deserve to have the best and since they stand in each others way, it’s become time for a change. That’s where the Resch Center comes in.
Let’s hope Green Bay serves the state tournaments as well as Madison has. At the same time, don’t get complacent. It’s a privilege to host these events and that’s something that should always be fresh in their minds.