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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Feb. 24 – The Michigan High School Athletic Association’s Basketball Finals will remain at the Jack Breslin Student Events Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing until at least 2017, after a six-year extension of an existing contract was recently agreed to by both parties.
The 14,759-seat Breslin Student Events Center has hosted the Semifinals and Finals of the boys tournament since 1994, and also hosted the Semifinal round of the tournament from 1990 to 1993. The Breslin Center also hosted the girls Semifinals and Finals in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Back in 2008, MHSAA and the University signed a two-year agreement for the 2010 and 2011 Semifinals and Finals for both events. This year’s dates are March 17-19 for the Girls; March 24-26 for the Boys.
“The central location of the Breslin Center makes it the ideal spot for our Basketball Finals,” said John E. “Jack” Roberts, executive director of the MHSAA. “Michigan State University and the Greater Lansing Sports Authority have made this venue financially and logistically attractive for us to continue playing our games and conducting the March Magic Hoopfest, and the entire mid-Michigan community has started to embraced this event again like it did for so many years when the games were played at Jenison Field House.”
“When you think of some of the greatest moments in the Michigan high school basketball tournament, they took place on this campus, and it is that history that we want to continue to be a part of,” said Mark Hollis, director of intercollegiate athletics at Michigan State University. “Many of us grew up watching the games in Jenison Field House when it was the toughest ticket in the state to obtain, and we’re pleased to be providing today’s student-athletes with the great experience of being on this campus and playing in one of the nation’s premiere basketball arenas. It’s great for our University and community to host teams and fans from across our State for this terrific event”
The continuation of the games at the Breslin Center also means the likely extension of an agreement with the Greater Lansing Sports Authority to conduct a fan festival at Jenison Field House – the March Magic Hoopfest, which will take place for their third year in 2011.
“We’ve been delighted to be a part conducting the MHSAA Basketball Finals, and we will be excited to continue the interactive basketball playground that is the March Magic Hoopfest for the next six years,” said Mike Price, director of the Greater Lansing Sports Authority. “These games are not only significant in terms of showcasing the campus and the community, but they also provide a significant economic impact.” Price added that conservative estimates place a $3 million economic impact on the region for the two weekends of basketball.
Other boys Finals venues over the years include: Pre-MHSAA Finals tournaments from 1917 to 1924 on the University of Michigan campus, using Waterman Gymnasium and Yost Field House, with Yost also hosting classes of the first MHSAA tournaments in 1925 and 1926; College Gymnasium at Michigan State from 1919 to 1926; Detroit Central and Detroit Northwestern High Schools in 1927; Olympia Stadium in Detroit was the first building to host the Finals in all four classes from 1928-30; Demonstration Hall on the MSU campus hosted from 1931-33; the Civic Auditorium in Grand Rapids and the original IMA Auditorium in Flint alternated as the site from 1934-39; Jenison Field House first hosted from 1940-42, with no statewide tournament in 1943, and then the Boys Vocational School Field House in Lansing (now the Don Johnson Field House) was the site in 1944 because of military operations taking place on the MSU campus; Jenison Field House had its long streak from 1945 to 1970, and last hosting in 1972 and 1974; Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor hosted in 1971, 1973 and then from 1975-89; and The Palace of Auburn Hills was the Finals site from 1990-93.
Girls Finals have taken place over the years at high school sites in Grand Blanc, Grand Rapids, Owosso, Alma and East Kentwood from 1973-76; Jenison Field House at MSU from 1977 to 1980; Calihan Hall on the University of Detroit-Mercy campus in 1981-82; Read Fieldhouse on the Western Michigan University campus in Kalamazoo from 1982-85; College Fieldhouse at Grand Valley State University in Allendale from 1986-89; Kellogg Arena in Battle Creek from 1990-96; Rose Arena on the campus of Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant from 1997-2003; and the Convocation Center at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti from 2007-09.
The MHSAA is a private, not-for-profit corporation of voluntary membership by over 1,600 public and private senior high schools and junior high/middle schools which exists to develop common rules for athletic eligibility and competition. No government funds or tax dollars support the MHSAA, which was the first such association nationally to not accept membership dues or tournament entry fees from schools. Member schools which enforce these rules are permitted to participate in MHSAA tournaments, which attract approximately 1.6 million spectators each year.