The UIL state basketball tournament officially has a new home.
The governing body for public school extracurricular activities in Texas announced Tuesday that the girls and boys 2015 tournaments will be held at the Alamodome in San Antonio. The tournament had been in Austin since 1921.
The planned move was announced last month after the UIL Legislative Council approved a staff proposal for the relocation.
In recent years, crowds packing Austin for the South By Southwest music, technology and film festival had placed a strain on teams, coaches and fans attending the boys state tournament around the second week of March at the Frank Erwin Center downtown.
“From a tradition standpoint, everyone’s going to miss Austin. But it had gotten so crowded with South by Southwest that to get a decent [hotel] price, you’d have to stay an hour outside of Austin,” Mansfield Timberview boys coach Duane Gregory said. “It needed to happen.”
Gregory was an assistant on the Timberview team that reached the state semifinals in 2009. He said that year the team was able to find a hotel relatively close to the Erwin Center, which has hosted the tournament since 1978. Kennedale coach Doug Groff and North Crowley coach Tommy Brakel had similar experiences when they led their teams to the state tournament in 2008. But over the past three or four years, SXSW crowds have swelled, Gregory said.
This year, Kennedale lost in the state semifinals, on a Thursday, and tried to cancel its reservation for the next night. But Groff said the hotel wouldn’t budge, charging the school for 15 rooms at $450 each.
“The decision to move the basketball state tournaments has been a difficult one,” said UIL executive director Charles Breithaupt.
Next year, the girls tournament will be held March 5-7, with the boys tournament March 12-14. Details on ticket sales are pending. The Alamodome has hosted NCAA men’s Final Fours in 1998, 2004 and 2008 and women’s Final Fours in 2002 and 2010.