Disastrous weekend should spell the end for Macon Centreplex

The Macon Centreplex must be put to bed and the GHSA needs reformation. The 2015-16 state championships were held this weekend with some of not only the state’s best players and teams participating, but some of the nation’s most highly regarded programs and college prospects.

So tell me why the GHSA has decided to treat the sport of basketball like the red-headed step child and put together another sloppily run event?

Team buses being charged $20 to park. Yes, TEAM buses. The teams PLAYING in the event itself were trying to be swindled to pay to park at their own state championship game. Embarrassing.

Not as important as the action on the court, but what about the lack of WiFi or cell phone service in the “building”? Extremely difficult for fans and media to stay connected to those not trapped in the prison without bars. How about the lovely foam padding on the back board that was sagging off during the first night? Luckily someone had the sense of mind to tape it up for Day 2, but it’s not like they knew they were going to be playing games there all weekend right? How about some foresight and preparation to make sure the facility is in tip-top shape?

Of course they won’t be able to fix all the cracks and miss-matched pieces of wood on the court, but it’s not like that matters. Remember, this is basketball, not football. The nice dirty diaper left under one of the seats in the building is also a great atmosphere setter for fans so they know they are in one of the nicest facilities in the state, ready to watch some great basketball!

Tape on the rims also makes everything cozy. Speaking of cozy, how about on Thursday night when half the lights in the gym weren’t turned on? If you wanted to catch a nap, go sit in the top row of the coliseum. Dark as night up there and you won’t be able to hear anything except Charlie Brown’s parents as the PA system was a garbled mess.

Security was on its toes too as a photographer, who had a slight seizure in a scary moment, wandering onto the court in the middle of the game. Did security rush out to stop him? Nope. It was the referee having to direct him off the court and hold him there for a few seconds before security finally came onto the floor to make sure he wasn’t a threat to any of the players or coaches.

Do you think the GHSA/Georgia Dome would allow a fan to mindlessly walk on the field in the middle of play in the football championships? I surely doubt that. Security would guard the sidelines like a hawk because they know what is at stake in the game and they understand people’s safety is paramount.

And of course, would they play football on a non-regulation sized field? No you say? So then why the hell did basketball play on goals that were not at the correct length?


Incompetence needs accountability.

GHSA Executive Director Gary Phillips had this to say:

“Only one coach even mentioned a possible problem, and my basketball staff watched the games closely and did not notice any appreciable effect on the shooting or the play of any of the teams. Some of the teams even shot extremely well from both the floor and the free throw line. But, overall, it looked like typical championship play.

“While this certainly was not an ideal situation or one that we wanted to have happen, we think the conditions were fair for all the teams. And, more importantly, it was the same for all the teams. We have plans to make sure this never happens again, but we have no plans to change anything that happened this week in Macon.”

Get the heck out of here.

Looked like typical championship play? Well that’s tough to judge since no one from the GHSA watches a game until the final month of the season and probably can’t remember the outcomes of last year’s games anyways.

Here are the cumulative shooting percentages for both the boys and girls games and you tell me if these look like usual numbers:

Girls: 32.9% FG — 20.9% 3PT — 57% FT

Boys: 38.9% FG — 19% 3PT — 62% FT

I’m sorry, but that looks a little low to me. There was some great defense being played, but when free throws are a foot or two longer, so is the three-point line. You couldn’t even drive baseline or grab a rebound inside because you were two feet out of bounds while doing so.

The point is, it should have never come to this. The Centreplex is a dump and it’s not just me saying this. Ask players, coaches, fans. Georgia has premier talent. Why not let them play on a premier stage?

Macon is a “neutral site” and in the middle of the state you say? Why don’t they play the state championships in football there? Sorry, but the Dome isn’t sold out so I don’t want to hear seating as the main issue. Why can football play in the state capital while basketball needs a map for people to find where it is? And look at home many teams are from the Metro Atlanta area that you are making travel just to help out a handful of teams. Again, it didn’t matter during football season, why should travel matter now?

Travel would make more sense if the games were held at Gwinnett Area
Travel would make more sense if the games were still held at Gwinnett Area

If you won’t change the city of location then you better find a nicer venue in the area but who knows if anything will come of it. The GHSA has shown their utter disregard for the importance of basketball by not bothering to fix the basket error for the final day citing it would take an hour to do and would delay games. I guess they forgot that they can do it in the morning or late at night? But who cares, this is basketball.

Incompetence needs accountability and it is time for some changes. Georgia Tech, Philips Arena, the Gwinnett Arena and others all are venues that have opened days peppered throughout March, so how about we end this “March to Macon” and display our state’s best in an area where people will actually see them and not in an area where there is a blatant disregard for quality.

17 thoughts on “Disastrous weekend should spell the end for Macon Centreplex”

  1. Well said Kyle. My 2 questions for Gary Phillips….
    1. The GHSA statement says “While it appears the goal were not placed far enough into the playing area” excuse me but the goals can not “appear” to be anything. They either were in the correct spot or they were not. Which is it & don’t wordsmith a public response to confuse the issue.

    2. You are quoted as saying “Only one coach mentioned a possible problem” Ok how many coaches does it take to mention a “possible problem” for it to be corrected? Once again you are using a stawman to try to avoid any responsibility.

    Come on Mr. Phillips set up and take full responsibility. Stop trying to put lipstick on a pig that you & your “basketball staff” created.

  2. It’s because basketball is deemed Black in Georgia, so once games are hosted outside of Atanta…..GHSA consistently depreciates the sport.

  3. Yeah move everything to Atlanta so the south Georgia teams are the only ones inconvenienced by the long travel. We in South Georgia don’t matter anyway

    1. Doesn’t make sense to punish the 80% of the teams every year to have to play in a dump like the Centreplex. Things were fine at Gwinnett. It is what it is.

      1. Point of info. The reason they tournament left Gwinnett had to do with the fact the area hosted the SEC women’s tournament three times from 2010-14. That tournament was played the same weekend as the state finals.

    2. The south Georgia teams don’t complain when the football teams have to travel to the Dome to play, do you?

    3. I’m in Atlanta and I would suggest rotating the Championships each year to accommodate everyone. Atlanta, Columbus, Savannah, Augusta, etc

  4. I was at the state championships on Thursday. It was noticeable that players missed an unusually high number of shots. I also several out of bounds plays on the baseline. Also officiating in the first game was horrible. Fans began to boo from the onset. I watched the game afterwards on TV. Still a joke…the game wasn’t even scheduled on TV guide for PBS

  5. Goals too far back? You think the GHSA cares? Umm, no. They are moving the baseball state championships to Rome & Columbus in 2017 and will be played on professional sized fields. Normal HS fence dimensions are 300′ down the line and 350′ to centerfield. Pro fields? 330′ down the line and 400′ to centerfield. What’s the problem? The same as having goals too far back or holding the basketball championships on an NBA floor using the NBA 3 point line and lane. It changes the game. But, the GHSA doen’t care because they’re getting theirs; the GREENBACKS!!!

    It ain’t just basketball that the GHSA craps on.

  6. Atlanta is not the answer…You’re worried about a $20 charge to park a bus? Wait until you move it to Atlanta. GHSA should have already worked that out. That’s their fought.
    GHSA needs to hold the City of Macon’s feet to the fire by next year and if the building isn’t cleaned up, it should be moved. How about Columbus? A lot nicer facility

  7. We can keep the games in Macon and play somewhere that has experience hosting a multitude of championship level games. Why not move the games to Mercer? The arena is plenty big, and parking in plentiful enough.

  8. I’m also a bit distressed (as a PA announcer at my high school) that the rules that I was sent by the NFHS were not followed for the championship games. Announcers are not to say how many points are scored on a basket. Announcers are not to say team/player foul numbers. All of this was said when I was there Saturday. I was threatened with a technical foul for my team by a referee last year for saying ‘for three’ after a made basket. What are the rules, exactly, GHSA? Can we at least get some consistency?

  9. No doubt that a bigger inside playing type team would clearly have an advantage with the goals moved back. It would not affect them trying to pound the ball in side nearly as much as it would affect a perimeter shooting team. I did notice how poorly Jenkins (who was one of the best shooting teams in the tournament) did shoot the ball from the perimeter. It clearly had an affect on the outcome of the final games. I am usually slow to slam the whole GHSA like we have seen in recent years, but have to agree that this matter was inexcusable and something beyond a couple of lame (trying to dodge the subject) comments needs to be done. I believe the goals being misplaced no doubt changed the outcome of several of those games. The shooting percentages don’t lie, and the team that lives on the perimeter had to be greatly affected by the longer shots necessary to get to the rim.

  10. Why not have it at Mercer University? It’s a MUCH nicer facility, they have hosted the GISA (private school) state championships there previously. They have also hosted th3 Atlantic Sun Conference championships prior to Mercer moving to the Southern Conference, and they obviously host approximately 25 games there each year with the men’s and women’s home basketball games.

  11. I’m still ticked that Macon doesn’t have a Bob Evans. When a man wants gravy roasted turkey with a side of stuffing, where can he go in Macon?

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