Blogs >'s Boys Hoops Run to the Sun

Follow all the coverage of boys high school basketball throughout the state on their way to Mohegan Sun Arena, the site of this year's championship weekend, March 15-16.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Time to go back to neutral sites for quarterfinals

Two Class LL quarterfinal-round games Monday have been moved from home to neutral sites.

The first, No. 5 seed New London at No. 4 Windsor, Is now at Central Connecticut State University. That decision was made by the CIAC prior to the second-round games being played. The reason? CCSU is obviously a much bigger venue and fans would get shut out of Windsor, which holds less than 1,000 people.

According to Bob Cecchini, the CIAC tournament director, Windsor initiated the process because the school was concerned about an overflow crowd.

The CIAC decided on Friday to move the matchup of FCIAC teams, No. 9 Ridgefield at No. 1 St. Joseph, to Fairfield Warde High.

Granted, Warde is a bigger venue (920 capacity for St. Joseph, 1,661 for Warde) but this is a little more puzzling. If you want to move it, why not go to a college facility? I’m sure Sacred Heart University could be made available.

Naturally, St. Joseph coach Vito Montelli is up in arms about it. Not only did six seniors play their final home game Thursday against Cheshire, but now they lose their home-court advantage over someone they played already. The Cadets has every right to be upset. They had no say in the matter.

But although Ridgefield coach Carl Charles called Cecchini Thursday night to make the same plea about crowd concerns, Cecchini insisted that he already had thought about moving that game if need be before Thursday. The CIAC tournament packet states that Cecchini has the right to move quarterfinal-round home games if need be.

“I talked to a couple of people on the basketball committee and we decided to move the game,” Cecchini said. I’ve spoken with Vito and (St. Joseph athletic director) Jim Olayos. I talked to several parents. They are all upset with me but I felt we had to do it. I don’t want people to get locked out. Fairfield Warde has a great reputation (for hosting big games) so that was a natural. I know I’m the bad guy but for the best interest of high school basketball in the state of Connecticut I made the right decision.”

Look, I’m all for bigger venues so fans don’t get shut out. The CIAC executive hasn’t forgotten what happened at Sheehan back in 2005, when near-riots erupted outside Sheehan High because fans with paid tickets got shut out of the Crosby-Xavier Division I semifinal. That is why the Class LL and L semifinals are now held at CCSU and the Floyd Little Athletic Center, respectively.

That’s what makes the move to quarterfinal-round home sites two years ago very puzzling. It was done because there are not enough sites to go around. Cecchini said the committee will revisit this and maybe go back to neutral sites.

They should. If need be, spend the money for venues like Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, since new management there has expressed interest in getting back involved with high school athletics.

It’s easy for me to say because it is not my money. But it’s also not right to have to have some games at home, others at neutral sites. You have to be consistent. And in this case, the CIAC was not.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home