Stupid schedule led to sparse crowds for CCAA Tournament in Ontario

The CCAA had quality men’s and basketball tournaments last weekend at Citizen’s Bank Arena in Ontario. It’s too bad no one was there to see it.

The Cal State Dominguez Hills women and Cal State Stanislaus men emerged as champions, punching their tickets to the NCAA postseason. Neither likely would have gotten in had it not been for the conference tournament, an element that always adds to the drama.

It was the second year the event has been held at the arena. Unlike the first year, the crowds were sparse. The difference? Scheduling.

On Friday, the second of the event’s three days, there were four games. The first two were men’s games, the second two the women’s semifinals.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out women’s games do not draw a crowd. Put your marquee games last. It’s best for everyone.

Well the CCAA chose gender equity over common sense. You see, the women’s played first last year, so they should get the chance in the spotlight games this year. Fine, but that isn’t good business sense.

So you had the Cal State San Bernardino men, the No. 12 team in the country, playing at noon. And the Cal Poly Pomona men, also ranked nationally and a national champion not that many years ago, playing at 2:30 p.m.

Mitch McClellan, the voice of the Coyotes on KCAA (1050-AM), couldn’t give tickets away.  He tried, several times. But kids are in school, parents are at work.

The last game of the night on Friday was Cal State East Bay women vs. Cal State Dominguez Hills. That should have been the first game.

CCAA Commissioner Mike Mathews said the executive council voted for that schedule before he came into office and he couldn’t overturn that decision. Next year it will flip back the other way. But it probably won’t be at this arena. It’s too bad because it’s a great venue for basketball, a great location, easily accessible.

Mathews said a decision will be finalized this summer where to hold the event next year. It had been held on campus sites before but Mathews says he prefers a neutral site. That seems to be a general consensus too.

But you can’t blame the arena folks if they don’t want the CCAA back. The conference lost money on the event, but so did the arena. They had to pay people to open it and work for those three days and got nothing for their return, little on parking or concessions – the staples for any entertainment venue.

It was an opportunity blown for the sake of gender equity. The women didn’t play in front a bigger crowd because they played last. It just assured that no one played in front of any crowd. Common sense should have prevailed.