OUR VIEW: Corn Palace big enough for state tournamentsThis is maddening. We firmly believe Mitchell can host a state girls’ basketball tournament, and we feel it’s time for Mitchell officials to go back to the SDHSAA board and ask, once again, why we aren’t.
By: Editorial board, The Daily Republic
State tournaments were taken away from the Corn Palace in 2006 when the South Dakota High School Activities Association determined that the Mitchell landmark is too small to host such big events.
The decision has proven painful for Mitchell, a basketball town that suddenly found itself on the outside looking in as tournaments — and the lucrative tourism dollars that come with them — have headed elsewhere.
Meanwhile, attendance numbers at all of those tournaments over the past decade or so show that the Corn Palace could, indeed, have hosted at least a few.
It’s time for the SDHSAA to come back to the table and once again explain to Mitchell why we have been left out of the rotation for state tournaments.
Last week, The Daily Republic outlined attendance figures at girls’ tournaments since 2005. Out of the 180 total girls’ basketball tournament sessions that have been held over the past decade — there are six sessions per tournament — only six have surpassed the seating capacity of the Corn Palace.
That means that only about 3 percent of the sessions held in the past 10 years would have been too big for the Palace. In the meantime, Mitchell has racked its brain trying to figure out ways to get back into the tournament rotation, including several proposals to build a new arena or to enlarge the Corn Palace itself.
Statistics show that the average per-session attendance figure ranges from 1,600 for Class AA and Class B to about 1,800 for Class A. Yet the Corn Palace has seating for 2,989 for basketball games.
Are we just not understanding the math?
This is maddening. We firmly believe Mitchell can host a state girls’ basketball tournament, and we feel it’s time for Mitchell officials to go back to the SDHSAA board and ask, once again, why we aren’t.