Interim Chancellor Samuel Gingerich announced on Aug. 24 that the annual GCI Great Alaska Shootout will take place for the last time in 2017, due to a limited state and University budget. The basketball tournament has been hosted by UAA Athletics since 1978, and its discontinuation means the end of a Thanksgiving tradition.
“It is with regret that I announce that we will eliminate the GCI Great Alaska Shootout beginning in 2018,” Gingerich said in a press conference.
The financial circumstances the University is enduring, as well as the tournament’s loss of $477,000 during the 2016 campaign, required the cancellation of the tournament.
During its 40 years, the GCI Great Alaska Shootout drew national attention to the state of Alaska, receiving coverage from ESPN between 1985-2008. The tournament introduced the Alaskan community to first-class basketball with its various D-I teams and recorded high attendance rates, highlighted by a record of 60,150 attendees in 2007.
The 40th and last GCI Great Alaska Shootout will bring an end to the longest-running regular-season college basketball tournament in U.S. history.
“We will be hosting the 2017 GCI Shootout and our goal will be to make this year’s 40th-anniversary event a celebration of its rich history, and we hope fans and supporters will join us in that endeavor this Thanksgiving,” Interim Athletics Director Tim McDiffett said.
On Nov. 21 the four-team women’s tournament will begin, followed by the men’s tournament on Nov. 22.
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