02/19/10 — Conference tournament column

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Conference tournament column

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 19, 2010 3:05 PM

On occasion common sense has to win out over tradition.

This is one of those times.

Area high school basketball conference tournaments, and more specifically scheduling decisions, have left me and others dumbfounded this week.

The decision to play multiple games at one location rather than letting the higher-seeded team have home-court advantage is a concept I fail to grasp.

Home-court advantage is a reward earned during the regular season. Negating that advantage sends the message that the regular season isn't as significant as playing well over the course of three days.

Tuesday night's Rosewood-Spring Creek quarterfinal game in the Carolina 1-A Conference boys' tournament failed to fill up half of Princeton's gym. Not only was the gym mostly empty, but the atmosphere bordered on library quiet.

Imagine that same contest on either the Eagles' or Gators' home floor, and the size of the crowd along with the energy level inside the building changes dramatically.

The Carolina 1-A tournament concludes at North Duplin despite the fact that the Rebels' boys and girls' squads have been eliminated. The logic behind not letting the higher-seeded squads host the remainder of the tournament seems irrational.

Athletic directors and principals for each area conference vote every season before tournament play begins whether or not to allow for the relocation of tournament games if necessary.

While host schools pocket money from concessions, the money made on ticket sales goes into a treasury and the schools from each respective conference receive a check for a percentage of the revenue at a later date.

Before the money from ticket sales can be collected by any of the area's three conferences, each school hosting a tournament game must take care of expenses -- the referees, police officers, clock keeper and ticket takers each night it hosts ballgames.

Area conference tournaments date back more than 30 years and don't appear to be going anyway anytime soon.

I'm all for tradition.

But it's well past time for this three-decade-old culture to undergo some serious tweaks.