MGM Resorts cutting ties with organizers, which it blames for failures at Las Vegas Invitational

Indiana coach Teri Moren ripped the Las Vegas Invitational last weekend for its failures and poor setup at The Mirage.
Indiana coach Teri Moren ripped the Las Vegas Invitational last weekend for its failures and poor setup at The Mirage. (George Rose/Getty Images)

MGM Resorts is cutting ties with the Las Vegas Invitational organizers after last week’s women’s basketball tournament at The Mirage hotel drew plenty of backlash for its poor setup.

MGM Resorts said in a statement Monday that it would no longer work with event coordinator Ryan Polk or the organizers of the tournament for future events, and placed the blame for the tournament’s failures — which included an injury scare with no paramedics on site — on Polk.

“We take great pride in hosting events of all sizes and providing world-class experiences and accommodations to our guests,” MGM Resorts said in a statement, via ESPN’s Michele Steele. “MGM Resorts and the Mirage did not organize, operate or sponsor the Las Vegas Invitational. Mr. Polk was the site coordinator and was responsible for all aspects of this tournament. All decisions about seating, the configuration of the venue and details such as the presence of emergency medical personnel and security were his responsibility. The Mirage contracted with Mr. Polk to provide the ballroom, hotel rooms for participants and attendees, and certain food and beverage catering, all of which were provided as required.

“Mr. Polk is not affiliated with MGM Resorts or The Mirage and we will not be working with his company on future events.”

How bad was the Las Vegas Invitational?

The Las Vegas Invitational was, well, an all-around failure.

The women’s tournament was held at a ballroom in The Mirage hotel without the basics. There were no bleachers for fans, only folding chairs. There was no security there, and there were no scoreboards.

The court looked nothing like what teams were told it was going to.

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There was also a terrifying medical scare at the tournament. Auburn’s Kharyssa Richardson fell hard on her back and hit her head in a game against Colorado State, and needed medical attention.

There were no paramedics on site. So Richardson had to lay on her back on the court for nearly an hour before EMTs arrived. Richardson was alert and responsive, the Tigers confirmed later.

“Any good tournament has EMT, all of that, medical professionals on site. It wasn’t the case. Another big miss for this tournament,” Indiana head coach Teri Moren said, via the Indy Star. “There were a lot of things that should have been better, and they just weren’t. That was a little bit frustrating. If the shoe was on the other foot and that was my kid, I would be very frustrated. I was very frustrated having to watch that moment for Auburn."