School officials sent an email out this morning with a short Q&A to help clarify issues surrounding recent decisions regarding the Big South.
Q: Did you waive the opportunity to host the Big South men’s final championship game on campus?
A: Yes. When faced with the possibility of not being able to host any tournament games, Chancellor Ponder and Janet Cone decided that it was in the best interest of our men’s basketball team to waive the opportunity to host the final championship game, in an effort to protect our opportunity for our men’s team to play the quarter-final and semi-final games on their home court in Kimmel Arena.
Q: Was Eddie Biedenbach consulted on this decision?
A: Coach Biedenbach was aware of our commitment to the Southern Conference and was confident that the university was doing everything it could to resolve the challenging situation.
Q: Why were you faced with this choice?
A: Two years ago, when the Big South Conference and the Southern Conference had the opportunity to bring their 2012 basketball championship to Asheville, the Southern Conference chose to respond and the Big South chose not to respond. As a consequence, UNC Asheville partnered with the community leaders to secure the Southern Conference basketball tournament to be held in Asheville. The opportunity to play in UNC Asheville’s Kimmel Arena helped bring this major tournament to Asheville. At that time, the Big South had not set its conference schedule for 2012, so potential conflicts were unknown. During that time the conference was actively pursuing a change in their tournament format that would designate a single site. Because of the presence of the SoCon tournament, the Big South commissioner objected to any games in the Big South tournament being hosted by UNC Asheville and took steps to preclude us from hosting any of that conferences’ championship games in Asheville.
Q: Why can’t the SoCon women play in Justice?
A: The opportunity for the SoCon Women to play their games in Kimmel arena was a key component for the bid to host the tournament and is part of the contract. We intend to keep our commitment.
Q: What action are you taking now and why?
A: On further review of the Conference bylaws, we have determined that the Big South Commissioner does not have the authority to override the bylaws concerning the rules where the games are played. Therefore we are submitting a formal request to the president of the Council of the Chief Executive Officers to overrule the commissioner’s decision and support the conference bylaws so that we may host the championship game.
Q: Will this scheduling issue be a continuing problem
A: No. The Big South Conference will host the tournament at a pre-determined, neutral site in the future.