BROOKLYN CENTER (AP) -- Directors of the Minnesota State High School League could reconsider on Monday their decision to move the state volleyball tournament from St. Paul to Rochester.
More than 90 percent of state volleyball coaches and players want to keep the tournament in the Twin Cities in 2003 instead of moving to the Mayo Civic Center.
League directors were scheduled to revisit the location issue during their meeting at the MSHSL headquarters in Brooklyn Center. The board announced the move from the Xcel Energy Center in April.
"The Xcel is the best facility you could have for the tournament," said Eagan coach Kathy Gillen-Melville. "It's also the place where players and the coaches want it, and the tournament makes money for the league. So why not just vote Monday to stay at the Xcel?"
Dave Stead, the executive director of the MSHSL, said the board could vote Monday or decide to delay action until its next meeting, which is in Rochester where board members could tour the civic center.
Stead has said there are economic reasons for making the move. He told a meeting of Class AA athletics directors last week that the MSHSL's expenses were up and revenues down from the 2001-02 school year.
One remedy, Stead said, would be moving the volleyball tournament to Rochester, where the league could save roughly $80,000 per year over the five years of the contract with the civic center.
Rochester has agreed not to charge for the use of the Mayo Civic Center, and would not take a cut of ticket sales. The Xcel receives $40,000 annually for hosting the volleyball tournament, and it also takes $1.50 from each ticket sold, a fee that would rise to $2 in 2004. Total attendance for the tournament has averaged roughly 20,000 a year in recent seasons.
Marshall coach Terry Culhane, whose teams have won five state volleyball championships, said outstate teams are just as adamant about wanting to play their tournaments in the metro as the metro kids are.
"Our kids in Marshall want to go to the megamall," he said, "and they want to go to the Science Museum."
A survey has confirmed that. The survey said that of the 1,355 volleyball players polled, 94.54 percent want their tournament to be in the metropolitan area, and of the 976 outstate athletes in that group, 92.52 percent want the tournament in the metro.
As well, 361 coaches were surveyed and 334, or 92.52 percent, said they wanted to keep the volleyball tournament in the metropolitan area.
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