Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Opinion

May 14, 2014

OUR VIEW: Disappointing for KHSAA tournament to depart

GLASGOW — The KHSAA’s decision this week to move the Girls’ Sweet 16 basketball tournament away from Western Kentucky University’s E.A. Diddle Arena was a bummer for many inside the Region 4 footprint, because the tournament had settled nicely into a seemingly comfortable home. Not only is the renovated Diddle a cozier facility than its original design, the building carries a long history of quality women’s basketball – much like Rupp Arena in Lexington, the longtime site of the Boys’ Sweet 16, boasts men’s basketball tradition.

The girls’ state tournament has been at Diddle 20 times since 1985 and every year since 2001. The arena and the event were becoming part of each other’s identities, and the upcoming move to Northern Kentucky University in 2016 and 2017 feels like change for change’s sake, rather than an effort to address any shortcomings at WKU. There’s value in trying new things, of course, but there’s also something to be said for maintaining and nurturing a successful existing situation.

The KHSAA’s move, in combination with a decision earlier this academic year to move both the boys’ and girls’ Region 4 basketball tournaments out of Diddle, means southcentral Kentucky’s premier basketball facility might have no postseason role in what’s historically been one of the state’s strongest prep basketball leagues. That’s not unprecedented, but it feels strange, considering how much tournament basketball Region 4 teams have played at Diddle in the past couple of decades.

Odds are, though, that Diddle’s banishment from the area prep scene won’t be permanent. The smart money is on an eventual return of one of the tournaments, if not both. We just hope that happens soon enough to continue building the tradition that had been taking root, rather than waiting too long and starting from scratch with future generations.

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