The Hooper Eblen Center is hosting the 2016 district 8AA and region 4AA tournaments. This is the first year since 2010 that Tennessee Tech has held postseason high school basketball tournaments.
District 8AA consists of the following high schools: Upperman, Smith County, DeKalb County, Cannon County, Macon County, Livingston Academy, York Institute and Central Magnet. Region 4AA contains these same schools plus schools around the Chattanooga area.
Diane Smith, assistant to the vice president for finance and planning, said, “Just this year Dana McWilliams has taken the reigns and contacted Tech about coming back.” McWilliams is the woman’s basketball coach at Upperman High School.
Smith says that the only thing Tech charges the district for is custodial costs and two facility managers. The University, however, doesn’t get any money from hosting these tournaments.
“Any K-12 schools or state agencies don’t have to pay rent to use the facilities,” Smith said. “They just have to pay custodial costs and facility managers. Tech isn’t out for any money from other schools, but also Tech doesn’t lose any money.”
Smith says Chartwell’s might make a little money. The agreement between McWilliams and Tech states all concessions will be provided by Chartwell’s.
Logan Vance, a freshman at Tech from one of the 8AA schools, expresses his happiness that Tech is finally hosting the tournaments again.
“I love watching basketball, and what else is better than watching your old friends play on your campus,” said Vance.
Eric Arnold, a senior business major, loved playing at Tech during his high school time. “You felt somewhat cool coming to Tech to play and being that you’re still in high school,” said Arnold.
Tech is also using this opportunity to recruit. Just like Tech hosting the football state championships, any high school student that comes to support their school will get the name of Tennessee Tech in their head for their college decision.
Smith said the plans are for Tech to keep hosting these tournaments every year. “It’s great for the University, for students being on campus,” said Smith. “It’s a win, win.”
The district tournament will continue through Feb. 23 with the girl’s consolation and championship Feb. 22 and the boy’s consolation and championship the following night. Region tournament play will begin Feb. 29 with the top seeds hosting.