DES MOINES — It’s staying.
The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union board of directors voted unanimously Saturday to keep the state volleyball tournament in Cedar Rapids.
“It was a bit of compromise,” IGHSAU Executive Director Mike Dick said. “The folks at Cedar Rapids gave a proposal, we countered, then we reached a compromise.”
The tournament, held in Cedar Rapids since 1991, will be held at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena Nov. 7-10.
“The IGHSAU State Volleyball Tournament is a great boost to our local economy each fall. We look forward to welcoming it back to Cedar Rapids,” Marilee Fowler, president & CEO of the Cedar Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, said in a statement.
The tournament will return to the U.S. Cellular Center — which is under renovation — from 2013 through 2016.
“The Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union has been a wonderful partner over the past two decades. We appreciate the commitment the organization has made to the City of Cedar Rapids and their flexibility as we renovate the U.S. Cellular Center,” Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett said in a statement.
Cedar Rapids officials told Union officials May 3 that the U.S. Cellular Center would not be ready for the 2012 tournament and made significant concessions to keep the tournament in town. The rent of $27,500 will be waived in 2012 at the Ice Arena and 2013 and 2014 at the U.S. Cellular Center. Rent will be discounted 50 percent ($13,750) in 2015, then will go back to full rate in 2016.
In addition, IGHSAU officials will receive free hotel rooms.
Because of the U.S. Cellular Center renovation, the Ice Arena also was the site of the 2011 tournament, which drew 24,400 fans. The tournament has brought $18 million of spending to Cedar Rapids in the past 10 years.
Volleyball is one of four girls’ sports (softball, basketball and golf are the others) that are expanding from four classes to five, which raises the number of tournament-qualifying teams from 32 to 40. Attendance and revenue are expected to jump 25 percent in 2012.
Dick said the U.S. Cellular Center’s unavailability will not hurt Cedar Rapids’ standing when bids can be submitted for the tournament after the 2016 event.
“I don’t think so,” he said. “Cedar Rapids has been a good home for a lot of years.”
In other business, directors:
– Reached “consensus to strongly consider” a mercy rule for basketball. Boys’ basketball uses a continuous clock in games with a 35-point margin.
–Decreased state diving qualifiers from 36 to 30.