LANSING, MICH. - "Playing the basketball finals in Grand Rapids is not unprecedented," says John Johnson of the Michigan High School Athletic Association.
History might repeat itself.
"It was about 80 years ago when we played at the old Grand Auditorium [Welsh Auditorium] in downtown Grand Rapids, and the trophies were handed out by James Naismith -- the inventor of basketball," Johnson said.
The Breslin Center on the campus of Michigan State University in East Lansing is going to lose the tournament because of changes from the NCAA: the women's college basketball tournament now gives top seeds, like Michigan State, a chance to play at home for the first round.
"That caused a problem last year when Michigan State finished in the Top 4 and would have hosted had not the girls basketball finals been scheduled for the Breslin Center the same weekend, so Michigan State went on the road to Mississippi State and loses," Johnson said.
The high school athletic commission is now looking for new venues for the last two weekends of March. They need a 5,000 seat venue for the girls final and an 11,000 seat venue for the boys championship.
The DeltaPlex, Van Andel Arena and Calvin College have all shown interest.
"We just have to take a wait and see approach right now but there is no doubt that this is a good pay day for the local economy to have these events in the community," Johnson said.
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