It is an unusual season when there is one big change for the finals sites of Michigan High School Athletic Association tournaments. This winter there are three really significant changes.
The MHSAA Team Wrestling Tournament begins the first of at least a four-year run on Feb. 23 and 24, 2018, at Wings Event Center in Kalamazoo. This event was held at Central Michigan University the past two years.
The following weekend, the MHSAA Individual Wrestling Tournament moves to Ford Field in Detroit, and it has also moved to a condensed schedule – two days, rather than three (March 2 and 3, 2018). This will reduce school and spectator costs. The demise of The Palace of Auburn Hills after the relocation of the Detroit Pistons necessitated the MHSAA’s site change.
The MHSAA Girls Basketball Tournament Semifinals and Finals moves to Van Noord Arena on the campus of Calvin College in Grand Rapids, March 15-17, 2018. The previous host, Michigan State University’s Breslin Student Events Center, could not commit to the MHSAA’s dates because of schedule conflicts with the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament.
A single venue change is a challenge. Facilitating three major changes over four weeks will make this tournament season especially “interesting.” What is even more interesting is the long-term forecast.
These changes demonstrate how new forces are putting pressure on old relationships. College venues are available on fewer dates and for fewer years; and as they become less available, they also become more costly for high school tournaments. Expenses at commercial arenas are also escalating at more rapid rates than in the past.
Making or maintaining traditions for MHSAA tournaments over future seasons will be a continuing challenge.