State basketball tournament in Tupelo nixed

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – There will be no high school state basketball tournament played next year in Tupelo.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association’s proposed legislation to expand the state basketball tournament, which included the use of a second venue – possibly Tupelo’s BancorpSouth Arena – along with Jackson’s Mississippi Coliseum, did not receive the required votes Thursday from its legislative branch to change the current postseason format.
The proposal passed at MHSAA’s February legislative meeting, but needed to pass a second time to become part of the 2013 handbook. Tupelo’s Convention and Visitors Bureau submitted a bid last month to host next season’s Class 1A and 2A girls and boys state tournaments.
“We are disappointed,” said Neal McCoy, director of the CVB. “We don’t see it as a vote against Tupelo. We see it as a vote against the proposal.”
The proposedormat change included:
* Playing an eight-team state tournament, instead of the current four-team event.
* Playing the Class 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A girls and boys tournaments separate weeks in Jackson.
* Playing the Class 1A and 2A girls and boys tournament at a different venue.
“I wish I could tell you why it failed,” said Rickey Neaves, the associate director of the MHSAA. “I’m disappointed. We put a lot of work into this. We thought it was good for basketball statewide.”
McCoy said Tupelo would be open to making another bid if the option of hosting a state tournament becomes available.
“If (the MHSAA) called tomorrow, we’d be right there with them,” he said.
gene.phelps@journalinc.com