Tournament of Champions moving forward

Judd Weil
Special to Dodge City Daily Globe

At the Dodge City Unified School District 443 Board of Education meeting on Dec. 14, Dodge City High School athletic director Jay Gifford updated the board with the current status of the 78th annual Tournament of Champions.

According to Gifford, the eight teams involved are all willing to travel and the basketball tournament schedule is being workshopped.

The tournament will be held the same week it always has, just on a modified schedule.

“We’re trying everything we can do with the restrictions we have to still make things as normal as possible for our participants,” Gifford said.

With coordination and assistance from other participating schools, measures have been taken to ensure fans would be in the stands as they normally would be if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are still moving forward with it and making it as normal as possible, especially for our seniors,” Gifford said.

So far, per the modified schedule:

On Jan. 19, all games will be played at home sites, with Dodge City only scheduled for one game.

On Jan. 21, four teams will come to Dodge City to play the semifinals, with the possibility of an additional game if Dodge City does not play that night, for them to play.

On Jan. 23, the championship game will be held in Dodge City, and just like in the semifinals, if Dodge City does not play that night, there will be an additional game for them to play.

Gifford said the other schools understood Dodge City’s desire to play all its games on its home court.

This schedule allows the tournament to happen by limiting travel and overnight stays and by giving Dodge City three home games, according to Gifford.

Furthermore, the schedule will allow cheer team, drill team and pep band to attend all home games as well, whether Dodge City is playing in them or not.

The Tournament of Champions, having been streamed in the past even before the COVID-19 pandemic, will be streamed and readily available to watch for people who cannot attend physically.

Per KHSAA ruling, USD 443’s COVID-19 operation plan and Ford County regulations, only active student participants will be allowed to have two parents or legal guardians physically attend whatever interscholastic event they are part of, once added to an official guest roster.

This policy went into effect Dec. 10 and will run until Jan. 28, 2021, and the guest roster is shared among other schools where Dodge City athletics may be participating.