GHSA announces move of basketball finals to Tech, UGA

Georgia Tech and Georgia will be the host sites for the 2017 state high school basketball championship games, the GHSA announced officially Thursday afternoon.

The move out of the Macon Coliseum had been assumed since Friday, although GHSA executive director Gary Phillips said an agreement had not been made.

Georgia’s Stegeman Coliseum will stage eight championship games on Wednesday, March 8, and Thursday, March 9.

Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion will be the venue for the eight finals to be played Friday, March 10, and Saturday, March 11.

Games will start at 2 p.m. each day. The GHSA has not determined specific games for each time slot. There will be eight boys and eight girls champions spanning from the new Class AAAAAAA (7A) to Class A public and private.

No state playoff game has ever been played at Stegeman. They were played regularly in Athens before 1941, when the GHSA moved its offices to Thomaston.

Georgia Tech has held several state championship games, most recently in 2003, when the McCamish Pavilion was known as Alexander Memorial Coliseum.

"The University of Georgia and Georgia Tech have two of the premier basketball complexes in the state," GHSA executive director Gary Phillips said in a statement. "Both schools worked tirelessly with the GHSA to devise a schedule that eliminates any conflict between the state championship games and the Bulldogs’ and Yellow Jackets’ own use of these marvelous facilities. The primary goal of the GHSA is to promote the best interests of Georgia’s high school student-athletes, and we are thrilled at the experience these venues will offer to the teams, their schools, and their fans."

A move out of Macon is significant. The Macon Coliseum has staged all or part of the state finals since 1969, shortly after the facility opened. Portions of the state tournament have been held at some Macon venue, including the City Auditorium, every year since 1942.

The 2016 finals in March were played with baskets set up at non-regulation baskets, setting off a firestorm of criticism. Phillips later apologized to each participating head coach with hand-written letters. Parking, bathrooms and parking also were criticized by several coaches.