INSIDE BINGHAMTON UNIVERSITY
Binghamton selected to host America East basketball tourneys
By : John Hartrick
Binghamton University has been selected as the host site for both the 2006 America East Men’s Basketball Championship and the 2007 Women’s Championship. In a teleconference vote of the confer-ence’s nine athletic directors last month, Binghamton was the unanimous choice to serve as men’s host for the second straight year. In a separate vote, BU was also given the nod for the women’s tournament in 2007. Hartford will host the 2006 women’s championship, and Boston University will take over the men’s championship in 2007.
The 2006 men’s tournament will take place March 3-5 at the Events Center, with the women’s dates set for March 7-10, 2007.
The success achieved in Binghamton’s host role for the tournament this past March played a key role in both votes.
“I think a couple of factors weighed heavily on the America East Board of Directors, which helped influence its decisions,” said Joel Thirer, director of health, physical education and athletics. “First, anyone who attended the playoffs here had to be impressed with the overall quality of the event; and second, the tournament was a financial success, attributable to our great fan and sponsor support.”
Gaining the 2007 women’s event is also a coup for the University. Unlike the men’s tournament, the women’s four-day, one-site tournament culminates with a champ-ionship game, which will be televised live on regional cable from the Events Center.
“We’re equally pleased that we’ll be able to host the America East Women’s Basketball Championship tournament in 2007,” Thirer said. “This will be a great boost for our women’s team and for local attention to women’s basketball in general. We expect our program to continue to gain competitive momentum, and we hope to take advantage of having the tournament on our home court. I expect that we’ll receive great support from our fans on and off campus.”
Binghamton hosted the first three rounds of the 2005 men’s championship, drawing 15,977 fans — more than double the attendance of the 2004 event. The quarterfinal session attendance of 8,284 on March 5 was the third-highest figure in conference tournament history.
Buoyed by the big home crowds, Binghamton upset fourth-seeded Albany in the quarterfinals in front of 5,222 fans and then battled eventual champion Vermont before falling in the semifinals.