PIAA Basketball Finals Returning to Hershey

Thursday, May 24, 2012 | 11:00 PM

Basketball teams will once again travel "the Road to Hershey" in pursuit of a state championship. The PIAA Board of Control voted 29-2 to accept the proposal made by Hershey Entertainment and Resorts to move the championships back to the 10,000 seat Giant Center for the next four years.

The Hershey bid was substantially better that that submitted by Penn State University. The Bryce Jordan Center on the Penn State campus has hosted the championships for the past six years. Penn State officials have also said since submitting their bid that the university is now trying to become a host site for the NCAA Women's Regional tournament, which would be the same weekend as the PIAA championships in two of the four years.

Attendance has dwindled from a high of 33 thousand in the final year at the Giant Center to just over 15 thousand for last year's title games. Several board members spoke out about the move to Penn State, believing with the dominance of the Philadelphia area teams, attendance will increase with the games closer to the Philly area.

The return to the "Sweetest Place on Earth" almost didn't happen, Hershey did not submit a bid in March when the PIAA made it's first request, choosing to focus on keeping the individual and team wrestling championships. Penn State officials made a combined bid for both the wrestling and basketball championships, which is against PIAA guidelines. All interested parties were asked to submit bids again, this time the Hershey bid was greater.

The board also awarded both wrestling championships to Hershey. The swimming and diving championships were awarded to Bucknell University for a four year contract.

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