LINCOLN — Grand Island and Lincoln each sweetened their bids Friday to host the state high school volleyball tournaments beginning in 2014, one with cash and one with facilities.
The Nebraska School Activities Association board will wait until August to decide its preference.
Grand Island, which will host the tournament in November for the fourth consecutive year, included in its two-year bid a $20,000 annual payment to the NSAA beyond covering all tournament-related expenses.
“Past surveys, stats, financial figures, however you want to (measure) it, the data shows players, coaches and fans want the state tournament to stay in Grand Island,” said Cindy Wells, a bid committee member who's an assistant principal at Grand Island High School. “Grand Island has done a great job in giving the event the attention it deserves.”
Lincoln's offer, which had no stated length, includes use of the new Pinnacle Bank Arena and the renovated Devaney Center for all three days of the tournament. Devaney would be the likely venue for the finals. The bid also would cover up to $85,000 a year in tournament expenses.
“When volleyball left Lincoln, we lacked facilities,'' said Jeff Maul, executive director of the Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It was hard to sit in front of this group and not present the right option. We think we've answered the facilities question.
“We believe in what (the NSAA) does, we believe in Lincoln as a destination. There's been comment about from moving from a population center of the state and we'd hope to see an attendance bump.”
Both cities said their main arena could be used for multiple courts, which was part of the NSAA's request for bids. Lincoln's bid stated Pinnacle could hold four courts and Devaney two. Pershing Center is not part of the Lincoln bid. Grand Island's bid included using the gyms at the city's three high schools and Lincoln's bid also included the option of high school sites.
In girls and boys basketball, the NSAA is expected to make no format changes for the 2014 tournaments. NSAA Assistant Director Jon Dolliver said a survey showed athletic directors favored the current three-day schedule.
In question, too, is whether Nebraska's Big Ten basketball schedules could accommodate tournaments starting on Wednesdays.
In other action, the board agreed in principle to grant NSAA rights to events not carried by Nebraska Educational Television to a new national high school sports network. The NSAA receives $65,000 a year from NET for rights fees. It would receive $45,000 a year, jumping to $60,000 in the fourth year of what could be a 10-year deal, from the proposed network owned by PlayOn! Sports that would start with webcasting.
The board voted against allowing Nebraska City a waiver of the five-day Christmas moratorium so the Pioneers' wrestling team could compete in the Flatwater Fracas in Grand Island on Dec. 21 and still travel on Dec. 26 to a 48-team dual tournament in Louisiana. St. Paul and Elba also were turned down on a mid-scheduling cycle request to form a co-op football team.
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