Sun Bowl Suspends Basketball Tournament For
EL PASO, Texas (September 4, 2008) - The Sun Bowl Association has
suspended the Sun Bowl Basketball Tournament for 2008, announced SBA President
nation's oldest collegiate holiday basketball tournament has had a 47-year run
from 1961 to 2007, but due to the increased number of NCAA exempt basketball tournaments
across the nation, tournament officials were unable to secure a field for this
are truly saddened that one of El Paso's
most treasured holiday events will be suspended for 2008," said Valenzuela. "We
are going to do everything in our power to re-launch the Sun Bowl Basketball
Tournament in 2009."
Sun Bowl Basketball Tournament is not the only collegiate tournament that will
not take place this season. Several historic tournaments have also been
cancelled for 2008-09.
have come to a point where hosting a four-team, four-game tournament has become
a challenge," said SBA executive director Bernie Olivas. "The change in the
NCAA rules allowing exempt events in 2006 has really hurt a lot of tournaments
has served as the host school for the first 47 years of the event winning the
tournament 29 times.
decision to suspend this year's tournament was disappointing," said Bob Stull,
Director of Athletics at UTEP. "The increasing number of exempt events and the
escalation in guarantees has made it almost impossible to fill the non-exempt
Sun Bowl Basketball Tournament field."
2006, there were only 10 exempt basketball tournaments in the country. With a
change in NCAA regulations in 2006, any institution can now host a multiple-team
exempt event. Last season, there were 58 exempt events held nationwide. A team
can only play in the same exempt event once every four years.
are not only fighting the influx of 48 new exempt events, but the rising cost
of guarantees teams get to participate in road games and tournaments," added
Olivas. "We are definitely at a crossroads."
Sun Bowl Committee has made hundreds of phone calls since January scouring the
country to fill the three spots (UTEP fills the fourth spot in the Sun Bowl
Basketball Tournament)," said Stull. "The decision to suspend the tournament
this year was a difficult one to make after so many teams have made the trip to
El Paso and had
an outstanding experience participating in past Sun Bowl tournaments."
the end of last year's tournament, 89 different schools had participated in the
tournament 138 times, producing 18 different tournament champions, including 27
titles to host-school UTEP. Last season, UTEP upended Wyoming, 79-73, to secure the tournament
"For 47 years, El Pasoans have looked forward
to seeing teams like Indiana, Georgetown,
Michigan, Purdue, Penn
State, Ohio State, Nebraska, Rutgers and Texas in our field," said Valenzuela. "There
is too much tradition to see this tournament go away. Our goal is to make sure
there is a tournament for 2009."
my first two years as head coach at UTEP, the Sun Bowl Committee put together
two great events," said UTEP head coach Tony Barbee. "College basketball
tournaments have become very competitive and I know that our players and
coaches will be disappointed to not be playing in the Sun Bowl Basketball Tournament.
It was one of the longest running college basketball tournaments in the nation
and it was a nice advantage participating in the event on our home court."
Sun Bowl Basketball Tournament has featured some of the game's top coaches over
the years - Gene Bartow, Bobby Cremins, Don Haskins, Lon Kruger, Gene Keady,
Bobby Knight, Mike
Krzyzewski, Guy Lewis, Phil Martelli,
Rollie Massimino, Jim O'Brien, Lute Olson, Wimp Sanderson, Charlie Spoonhauer,
John Thompson III, Gary Waters and Tex Winter.
has also featured some of the nation's top collegiate players - Nate Archibald
(UTEP), Earl Boykins (Eastern Michigan), Dana Barros (Boston College), Adrian
Caldwell (Lamar), Antonio Davis (UTEP), JoJo English (South Carolina), Mike
Evans (Kansas State), Jim Farmer (Alabama), Greg Foster (UTEP), Walt Frazier
(Southern Illinois), Jeff Green (Georgetown), Tim Hardaway (UTEP), Roy Hibbert
(Georgetown), Tim McCormick (Michigan), Chuck Person (Auburn), Glenn Robinson
(Purdue), Brandon Wolfram (UTEP) and Sharone Wright (Clemson).
other bowl organizations have hosted collegiate basketball events - the Orange
Bowl, The Sugar Bowl and the Fiesta Bowl. The Sugar Bowl last held a basketball
classic in 2004, while the Orange Bowl has hosted a basketball doubleheader
with Florida and Florida State
as the two home teams. The Fiesta Bowl has gone from a basketball classic to a
single showcase game with Arizona hosting the
event in Tucson, Ariz.
"We have had a unique niche of hosting a
collegiate basketball tournament and a college bowl game for close to five
decades," said Olivas. "Our goal is to see this tournament back in El Paso in 2009."
marks the second time the Sun Bowl Association has had to suspend an event for
a year. In 1987, the Association had to suspend the Western Refining College
All-America Golf Classic due to a change in NCAA legislation. Officials worked
with the NCAA to garner an exemption for the event and reinstated the event in
1988. This past January, the All-American renewed its exemption to set the
stage for the 33rd edition of the tournament in November of this year.
Sun Bowl Association was founded in 1934 as the Southwestern Sun Carnival
Association. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Association, which
hosts 20 events year around.