Kelly Wietsma New York 0

Bring Section 1 Basketball Tournament Back to the County Center

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The Hopes and Dreams of Section 1 Basketball Players Destroyed

Since 1933, the County Center has been the iconic basketball venue for the Section 1 boys and girls high school basketball tournaments. Tens of thousands of student-athletes have had the thrill and privilege of competing at the County Center. Many have gone on to compete at the highest level of collegiate basketball; others have advanced to the NBA and WNBA. Regardless of skill level, each player will tell you that playing in the Section 1 championships at the County Center remains one of their life’s most thrilling and memorable moments.

Our children’s lives are built upon hopes and dreams. For Section 1 high school basketball players, from the earliest age, they hope and dream to one-day play in the Section 1 basketball championships at the County Center.

On November 28, 2017, certain Section 1 officials chose to destroy those hopes and dreams when they announced the County Center would be abandoned as the home for the Section 1 boys and girls basketball championships in favor of Pace University. This belated decision, made in a back room, by a select agenda-driven group of Section 1 officials, was wrong both in process and substance, and may have passed by one mere vote!

The Section 1 Executive Committee unilaterally manipulated the deliberative process which was historically collaborative and resulted in decades of great high school basketball championship tournaments at the County Center. The decision to abandon the County Center was made in secret, without the input from devoted Athletic Directors and coaches, and only after the high school basketball season began. Efforts of the Athletic Directors and coaches and other Section 1 members to amicably resolve this matter have either been ignored or intentionally withheld from the Section 1 Executive Committee members. A viable amicable solution exists to use both Pace University and the County Center for this year’s tournaments. Section 1 Athletic Directors spent hours to prepare and present this proposal to the Executive Committee. Unfortunately, it appears that the Executive Director apparently never shared the proposal with the Executive Committee.

The Boys and Girls Sectional Championships are only seven (7) weeks away. Despite repeated requests by multiple Athletic Directors and the Section 1 Boys and Girls Coaches Associations, the Section 1 Executive Committee has refused to consider the Athletic Directors’ Proposal to move at least the semi-final games back to the Westchester County Center. The loss of the County Center venue has demoralized Section I Athletic Directors, coaches, student-athletes, as well as the public at large.

The Section 1 Executive Committee and a hand full of Athletic Directors, selected by the Executive Committee, are scheduled to meet on January 3, 2018 to decide the fate of the County Center as the venue for this year’s Section 1 basketball tournament. Incredibly, the Executive Committee has refused to permit pro County Center Athletic Directors to attend.

Now is the time for all student-athletes, parents and fans of Section 1 basketball to communicate to the Section 1 Executive Committee their desire to have the championship tournament returned to the County Center. Section 1 officials have forgotten that they are paid by the public to run the Section 1 tournament. They do not own the tournament. We do. They are accountable to us. To date, they have ignored the public outrage, the media and the hard work of well-respected Section 1 Athletic Directors and coaches who have run the tournament for decades, causing many dedicated men and women to resign from Section 1 Committees. This madness must stop now.

Please sign the petition and let the Section 1 Executive Committee know that we will not stand for the lack of transparency, accountability and support for what is in the best interest of OUR student-athletes, OUR Coaches, OUR AD’s and OUR communities.

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