It's the most wonderful time of the year in North Dakota, tournament time!  Something I look forward to each every year.  There is nothing like high school tournaments in North Dakota.  I'm always glued to my TV during the state hockey tournaments, boys and girls Class A basketball tournaments and the crowned jewel of them all, the Class B boys and girls basketball tournaments.

As a parent with a child who will hopefully be participating in one of these tournaments this year, I have to tell you how disappointed I am in the decision of the NDHSAA and their tournament brackets.  What are they basing their decisions on?  In case you didn't know, all of the state tournaments have been scaled back with the exception of the Class B boys and girls state tournaments.  More on that in a moment.

Let me start with hockey.  The state tournament this year is at the Ralph Engelstad Arena, which holds over 11,000 people.  Even on a year when both Grand Forks teams are in the state championship, there are still no more than a few thousand people in the stands.  In fact, it almost looks to empty for most games.  Well, the NDHSAA decided to hold quarterfinal games, in the seeds highest rink.  So in reality, only four teams will make it to state at the Ralph, which is a travesty.  No consolation bracket, so once you lose you're done, with exception of a 3rd place game.

This is a total JOKE!  What is the NDHSAA basing this decision off of?  The Ralph is more than big enough to social distance in, even in a non COVID year.  Hockey has the least attendance with the biggest venue?  HELLO???  This makes ZERO sense.  They can't be basing this decision off of COVID-19 cases, because they've been falling like a rock since Thanksgiving.

Class A boys and girls basketball are also getting the shaft with no consolation bracket, although they do get to play their quarterfinal games at the state tournament venue. (Bismarck Events Center)  Wrestling and swimming state tournaments have also been scaled back.

Yet, the Class B boys and girls basketball tournaments get to play a full tournament, with consolation games at the Dome in Minot.  I'm certainly happy for them, but let's be honest, Class B basketball games have the highest attendance of all the tournaments every year.   This venue is considerably smaller than the Ralph.  So, this decision can't be based off of COVID-19 numbers?  Tell me how this make sense again?

I realize you have to make tough decisions during a pandemic, but you also have to realize when you made a mistake and change your decision.  The clock is ticking.  What do you say NDHSAA?



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