COLUMBUS — St. John Arena in Columbus, which carries a strong historical link to Ohio’s boys and girls high school state basketball tournaments, will again host those events according to an announcement released by the Ohio High School Athletic Association on Thursday.
The Schottenstein Center on the Ohio State University campus has hosted the boys state tournament since 1999 and the girls tournament since 2000. Due to future schedule conflicts with OSU basketball and hockey programs, however, the Schott will be unavailable for the OHSAA girls state tournament in 2020 and the boys state tournament in 2021.
Ohio’s girls state tournament, then, will be moved to St. John Arena on March 12-14 in 2020. The OHSAA boys state semifinals and championship games will remain at The Schottenstein Center in 2020, but will move to St. John’s in 2021.
“We are excited to return to St. John Arena, where many schools and basketball fans have great memories,” OHSAA Executive Director Jerry Snodgrass said in a released statement.
“The Schottenstein Center and its staff have been great partners of the OHSAA, but there are some upcoming scheduling conflicts with OSU basketball and ice hockey teams on our state tournament dates, as well as parking concerns, so we have been talking with OSU about returning to St. John Arena.”
The OHSAA boys basketball state tournaments were held at St. John Arena from 1957-1985 and 1988-1998. The Schottenstein Center opened in 1998 and has hosted the boys basketball state tournaments since 1999.
The OHSAA girls basketball state tournaments were held at St. John Arena from 1976-1985 and 1987-1999 before moving to the Schottenstein Center in 2000. They have remained there every year except 2005 when the girls returned to St. John Arena due to the OSU men’s ice hockey team hosting a conference playoff series at the Schottenstein Center.
St. John Arena has been unavailable for OHSAA district, regional and state tournament contests, as it has been the practice and competition home of OSU women’s and men’s volleyball, women’s and men’s gymnastics and wrestling teams. However, OSU’s new Covelli Center is now open and houses those OSU sports.
The OHSAA’s 2020 individual wrestling state tournament at the Schottenstein Center will begin on Friday, March 13, and conclude Sunday, March 15.
“We anticipate that our individual wrestling state tournament will remain at the Schottenstein Center for years to come, but our basketball state tournaments are more flexible and the scheduling conflicts at the Schottenstein Center those weekends are a reality,” Snodgrass said.
“We will continue to discuss our basketball state tournaments format and scheduling with our staff, Board of Directors and the staff of the Schottenstein Center and Ohio State University Athletics Department. We will work together to ensure our state tournaments remain premier events.”
According to Thursday’s release, the OHSAA has not yet determined the site for the girls state tournament in 2021 or the boys and girls state tournaments in 2022.