The MHSAA representative council made the decision at its Dec. 1 meeting in response to Michigan State varsity girls scheduling issues. In March 2019, it is possible the Breslin Center will be hosting the opening two rounds of the women’s NCAA Division I tournament.
Currently, and historically, the girls basketball season has begun a week earlier than the boys, and their state tournament subsequently staggered one weekend earlier. The decision to move the girls tournament flips this standard.
In 2019, the boys season will kick off a week before the girls with games allowed to begin on the Monday following Thanksgiving (Nov. 25) and their finals will be played at the Breslin Center during the weekend of March 14-16. The girls will play at Calvin College March 21-23 with contests beginning the week of Dec. 3.
The shift will also alter the dates of the district and regional tournaments, reflecting the same one-week swap.
“Although it is not our preference to change the schedules of events that continue to run smoothly, switching girls and boys schedules in this way allows us to keep the current tournament format and traditions that help make these two of our most popular Finals every school year,” MHSAA Executive Director John E. Roberts said in a press release this week. “This will keep the boys at the venue most capable of hosting them and girls at a venue we are excited to move to this season.”
The switch currently would only be in effect for the 2018-19 season. The current NCAA calendar for 2019-20 would allow for both the girls and boys tournaments to move back to their traditional weekends and site, although the MHSAA contends that has not been officially decided.