After scheduling conflict in 2024, Grand Forks remains viable option for future region basketball tournaments

Feb. 23—GRAND FORKS — In the 2023-24 season, the North Dakota High School Activities Association added a third class of basketball.

Still, as the postseason has started this winter, Grand Forks and the Betty Engelstad Sioux Center isn't a host for regional tournaments as it was in past seasons for the Class B Region 2 boys and girls basketball tournaments.

The Division B Region 2 girls basketball tournament was held this past week in Devils Lake, while the Division A girls basketball tournament was held in Mayville.

The same two towns will host the boys at the beginning of March.

The North Dakota High School Activities Association and Ralph Engelstad Arena say they're open to future scheduling. They say the 2023-24 season saw a scheduling conflict at the Betty involving UND's basketball programs.

A similar issue arose at North Dakota State for the Division AA East Region tournament typically held at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex in Fargo. Due to a scheduling issue at the SHAC, the East Region tournaments will be played at Fargo-area high schools.

"I think the Betty is as good of an atmosphere as there is in the state," NDHSAA executive director Matt Fetsch said. "Hopefully, it works out in the future. As in the past, we reached out to UND for the possibility of the Betty hosting and were informed it wouldn't be available for the dates needed this year. The NCAA tournament calendar rolled back and the NDHSAA calendar did not."

Fetsch said the tournaments are scheduled year to year, so it's possible the Betty can be in the mix for regional tournaments in the 2024-25 season.

Ralph Engelstad Arena General Manager Jody Hodgson said he prioritizes UND's basketball and volleyball programs in scheduling but is open to future NDHSAA events.

"We'd always consider whatever the information is at that point in time," Hodgson said. "There's an evolving schedule with the three classifications. Once we get our UND schedules, we'd absolutely sit with them and build with them. If we can have (NDHSAA) events over a dark building, I'd love to do it."