OSSAA moving Class 5A-6A basketball state tournaments to Norman

Cameron Jourdan
Khalayah Willis and the Lady Tigers will get to play closer to home this season if they advance to the postseason. The OSSAA announced Wednesday that the Class 5A State Tournament will be held at Lloyd Noble Center in Norman for the next three years.

Big changes are coming to the Class 5A-6A basketball state tournaments the next three years.

During the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association board of directors meeting Wednesday, the board voted 11-2 in favor of moving the association's Class 5A-6A basketball state tournament from Mabee Center in Tulsa to the University of Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center in Norman. 

The Class 5A-6A state tournament has been at Mabee Center the past 12 years. 

"After evaluating the bids we received and having further discussion with each site, the bid from the University of Oklahoma was the best one for our member schools," executive director David Jackson said in a release. "We had an excellent run at the Mabee Center and look forward to bringing that same type of state tournament atmosphere to Norman."

Added OU athletic director Joe Castiglione: "We are delighted to have the 6A and 5A tournaments back in Norman. The quality of basketball being played in Oklahoma is at such a high level. We can’t wait to showcase it at the Lloyd Noble Center. We’re excited to share a court that has featured many great Sooner players with the outstanding high school teams and fans from our state. It will be our great honor to provide all of them with a first-class experience and memories to last a lifetime."

The dates for the 2022 5A-6A basketball state tournament is March 10-12. 

One of the main reasons for the change, per Jackson and OSSAA associate director Mike Whaley, was the digital ticketing fees at Oral Roberts and Mabee Center. Fans would have to pay a $3 fee instead of $1.50 at Mabee Center, which is something that would've cost the OSSAA upwards of $75,000 over the three-year span. 

Board members Mark Hudson and Cecilia Robinson-Woods argued for keeping the tournament at ORU, saying the money shouldn't be the only thing keeping the association from wanting to remain in Tulsa for another three years, among other factors. 

Oklahoma State was also involved in the bidding process, but the OSSAA decided to focus on ORU and OU's bids.

The move will bring all of the state basketball tournaments to the Oklahoma City metro over the next three years, with Classes B-4A being played at State Fair Arena. 

Football playoffs moving forward as scheduled

The postseason will have a normal feel this fall.

Unlike last year when some games were canceled and the playoffs were expanded, the 2021 playoffs are back to normal, with one game Thursday and the other 87 first-round games beginning Friday. 

Whaley said all semifinal games will be at neutral sites this fall. Last year, some semifinals were played at one of the participating team's home stadiums. 

In larger classifications, if a west team makes a semifinal, those games will be on the west side of the state. 

Times for the 11-man state championship games at UCO's Chad Richison Stadium were also set Wednesday. Here's a look at the schedule:

Class 6A-II: 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2

Class 3A: 1 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3

Class 4A: 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 3

Class 6A-I: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Class 5A: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 4

Class A: 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11

Class 2A: 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11