A day after the Louisiana High School Athletic Association announced two of its winter championship events won’t be held in Bossier City as scheduled, Baton Rouge appears to be in the mix to host one of the two - the Top 28 Finals basketball tournament.
LSU senior association athletic director Eddie Nunez confirmed the school has held preliminary talks with LHSAA officials about having the Maravich Assembly Center as the site of its first combined boys-girls basketball finals tournament March 8-10.
“What we’ve done is assess the situation and talk with the LHSAA about the event and their needs,” Nunez said Friday. “We do not have an event scheduled there (at the Assembly Center), but we have two other events on campus, a home baseball series and a Special Olympics event. And we’ll be sending people to help with the SEC men’s basketball tournament.
“We’re looking at what could be possible and at our staffing situation. We hope to have some answers for them (LHSAA) and hope to talk again.”
The LHSAA announced in a Thursday news release that its 2012 State Wrestling Tournament and 2012-13 Top 28 Finals basketball tournaments would not be held at Bossier City’s CenturyLink Arena, which had won the bid for both events in 2010 by offering facilities and staffing free of charge.
That bid was negotiated by the Shreveport Regional Sports Authority, which was replaced earlier this year by another group, the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission.
Executive Director Kenny Henderson said the LHSAA’s executive committee rejected an alternate proposal submitted by the new Shreveport group, thus prompting a search for new sites.
At a Friday news conference in Shreveport, the SBSC told the Shreveport Times that it wanted the LHSAA to pay $90,000 for the three events over the next two years.
In 2010, Shreveport, Baton Rouge and the most recent Top 28 boys site, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Cajundome, submitted basketball bids.
Henderson said Thursday that the previous host for the State Wrestling Tournament, Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center, will likely host the event set for Feb. 10-11. He also said several alternatives for the basketball tournament were being explored.
LSU has not hosted an LHSAA basketball event since the Top 28 boys tournament moved to Lafayette in 1997.
Two other major Louisiana venues have conflicts from March 8-10. The Cajundome has home games for the Louisiana IceGators, while the New Orleans Arena will be hosting the SEC Men’s basketball tournament.