State high school boys and girls basketball tournaments are staying put in towns across the state for now.
Officials with the South Dakota High School Activities Association have considered combining boys and girls tournaments in each class in the past, but have put the brakes on the proposal pending a two year pilot project of Class AA tournaments.
One of the towns that could lose out as host is Watertown, which held the 2013 Class A Girls Tournament over the weekend. Watertown doesn’t have the space for a combined tournament. Instead, they would be held in Rapid City or Sioux Falls.
“You start looking at other things like venue, hotel availability, what's available for us to do when our teams aren't playing,” South Dakota High School Activities Association Executive Director Wayne Carney said.
It's no surprise businesses in host cities like Watertown don't applauded the idea.
“We try to do some advertising with the tournament and also just try to get the people in the door and give them a good dining experience,” Brock Gauer said, who manages Charley’s restaurant, bar and coffee shop in Uptown Watertown.
The business is a newer addition to the city. While it already has a loyal local customer base, part of Gauer’s job is to build the business.
“There's nothing to gain by losing the tournament in my opinion. From a local business standpoint it's not going to help at all,” Gauer said.
“The activities association's job is to service 180 member-schools, not a particular community. Not a Sioux Falls, not a Rapid City, Watertown, Huron, Mitchell, Aberdeen, Yankton or anywhere we host an event,” Carney said.
Carney said state tournaments make up 70 percent of the association's revenue. That gets funneled back to members and funds other state activities which don't make money.
“Oral Interp, state One-Act and Debate are all non-revenue activities that we feel are just as important as athletic activities we run,” Carney said.
The Board voted to combine AA basketball tournaments in 2015-16 in Sioux Falls and again the following year in Rapid City, giving cities like Watertown at least a few more years before things might change.