During Tuesday's scheduled meeting at the KHSAA office in Lexington, the Board of Control awarded the girls basketball state tournament to the Bank of Kentucky Center and Northern Kentucky University for 2016 and 2017, while keeping the Worth/KHSAA Softball State Tournament at Jack C. Fisher Park in Owensboro for 2015-18. In addition, the board approved a final draft of the football alignment for 2015-18.
"It speaks volumes to the growth and progress of female athletics in this state that we received two very strong proposals for both championships, where in the past there might not have been much interest," Commissioner Julian Tackett said in a statement. "It bodes very well for the future of female athletics in Kentucky.
"In terms of the girls basketball championship, the board was of the opinion that moving the championship to a new site might help grow the event and offer further exposure to the sport and its participants. Moving the tournament is in no way an indictment of Bowling Green, WKU or Houchens Industries. They have been great partners of the KHSAA and will continue to be in the future."
E.A. Diddle Arena has been home to the tournament since 2001, with Houchens Industries serving as title sponsor since 2003. WKU will host the event in 2015. Following the two years at Northern, the board will evaluate the event and determine future sites. Bowling Green remains the host city for the Leachman Buick-GMC-Cadillac/KHSAA State Golf Championships through 2020, and the board has approved an agreement for WKU to host the Russell Athletic/KHSAA Commonwealth Gridiron Bowl Football Championship through 2018.
Owensboro's Jack C. Fisher Park has been the site for the softball tournament since 2008, and will hold the event for 11 consecutive years when Tuesday's extension expires following the 2018 tournament.
The board also approved a final draft of the football alignment for 2015-18, approving several requested changes to classifications, as well as those schools looking to change districts due to geography.
Additionally, the board passed a motion to revise the 6A playoff pairings for 2015, playing the games in the same manner as other classes, with the intention to re-examine the topic for future seasons.
Adopted Football Alignment for 2015-2018 (area teams listed)
District 1 â “ Crittenden County, Fulton City, Fulton County, Russellville
District 1 â “ Ballard Memorial, Mayfield, Murray, Webster County
District 1 â “ Caldwell County, Fort Campbell, Paducah Tilghman, Trigg County, Union County
District 1 â “ Calloway County, Hopkins County Central, Hopkinsville, Logan County, Madisonville-North Hopkins
District 1 â “ Apollo, Christian County, Graves County, Marshall County, Owensboro
District 1* â “ Daviess County, Henderson County, McCracken County, Muhlenberg County, Ohio County
* 5th place from District 1 as the 4th place in District 2 for playoff brackets.