UPDATE: SDABA response letter to SCL

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UPDATE: I received an email Tuesday from the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association, which states this letter was not in fact written by president Dale Weber (could be that it was copied from an email to commissioners) and does not constitute the “official” response from the SDABA. The official response to the South Central League was in a letter dated July 10. 

BY JEREMY HOECK
jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net

The official response is in.

Dale Weber, the president of the South Dakota Amateur Baseball Association (SDABA), penned a 2-page hand-written letter to the South Central League (SCL), in response to the league’s frustrations over the disbursement of bids for the 2015 State Class B Amateur Baseball Tournament.

The crux of the SCL’s irritation? That one final spot out of the 32-team state tournament field was drawn out of a hat, and eventually awarded to District 4 (Cornbelt League) – that league will now send six of its nine teams to state, the highest percentage among the state’s seven Class B districts. The South Central League, meanwhile, will send four of its eight – 50 percent, which is the lowest in the state.

The Press & Dakotan detailed the issue in a June 25 commentary, and nearly a full month later, the SCL managers were provided an official response.

You can read the letter for yourself, but the bottom line is this: Nothing will change for the 2015 state tournament, Aug. 5-16 in Mitchell. It wasn’t likely to change. The real focus for the SCL is now on the 2016 state tournament, and the hope that a sense of equality and logic enters into the discussion.

Summit League hoops attendance

BY JEREMY HOECK
jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net

USD's Tre Burnette

USD’s Tre Burnette

There were no real surprises in the basketball attendance figures released Monday by the NCAA, but those numbers – total and average home attendance – will likely rise on the men’s side because of new facilities across the conference.

By this time next year, four Summit League schools – University of South Dakota, North Dakota State, Omaha and IUPUI – will be playing in new arenas. And that’s good news for those schools.

According to the NCAA figures, Oral Roberts led the Summit League with an average home attendance of 3,458 last season. Then comes South Dakota State (2,993), North Dakota State (2,512), Denver (1,963) and South Dakota (1,745) in the top five.

The interesting thing to note on the men’s side is that it’s much harder to lure in a ‘big name’ opponent to your gym, so what Oral Roberts attracts down in Tulsa is impressive. That’s a lot of butts in seats.

South Dakota State averaging nearly 3,000 fans is far from shocking; the Jackrabbit men and women have a tremendous following up at Frost Arena – which is a fantastic place to watch a basketball game; very intimate; the fans are right there near the court.

North Dakota State, meanwhile, will only climb the attendance ladder once the Bison move into the Scheels Center at the Sanford Health Athletic Complex in time for the 2016-17 season.

That’s also the same season USD will move into its new (unnamed as of yet) 6,000-seat arena next to the DakotaDome. The fact that the Coyotes ranked fifth with nearly 1,800 fans a game is alone an impressive feat.

One highlight of Monday’s attendance figures was IUPUI’s 59 percent rise in men’s basketball attendance, thanks to the Jaguars playing in a new arena (Indiana Farmers Coliseum). IUPUI jumped from an average of 615 fans to 1,527 last season – a rise that ranked 30th among Division I schools.

If USD sees a similar increase, the Coyotes would jump from 1,745 fans to around 2,800 – potentially more. It wouldn’t surprise me if USD averages in the neighborhood of 3,500 that first season in the new arena, but it would most likely settle into the 3,000 range.

The Summit League Tournament, which was held for the first time at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center in Sioux Falls, came in at No. 9 among 30 Division I tournaments. And among 22 mid-major leagues, the Summit League was second for highest average attendance.

On the women’s side, Monday’s NCAA figures show what many of us already know: South Dakota and South Dakota State rule the Summit League.

South Dakota State ranked first in the league with an average of 2,101 fans per home game, while USD came in second at 1,568. From there, the list drops off: Oral Roberts was second at 875, and Omaha was last with an eye-opening 190 fans.

Much like the men, the USD women will see a significant rise in the new arena, partly because the Coyotes will be able to lure in some high major schools.

World Archery President: Athletes Got ‘A Very Warm Welcome’

BY JEREMY HOECK
jeremy.hoeck@yankton.net

National Field Archery Association president Bruce Cull (second right) is pictured with a group of dignitaries Sunday at the World Archery Youth Championships in Yankton. They include (L-R) Greg Easton, president of Easton Foundations; Uger Erdener, World Archery president; and Dragomir Cioroslan, director of International Strategies and Development for the United States Olympic Committee.  (Jeremy Hoeck/P&D)

National Field Archery Association president Bruce Cull (second right) is pictured with a group of dignitaries Sunday at the World Archery Youth Championships in Yankton. They include (L-R) Greg Easton, president of Easton Foundations; Uger Erdener, World Archery president; and Dragomir Cioroslan, director of International Strategies and Development for the United States Olympic Committee. (Jeremy Hoeck/P&D)

Ugur Erdener regularly travels around the world visiting archery tournaments.

He has seen events held in cities with populations ranging from hundreds of thousands on up to millions.

But for a short time this weekend, the president of the World Archery Federation got an up-close look at the World Archery Youth Championships (WAYC) in Yankton, with a population of just under 15,000 residents.

The president’s impression?

“I talked with some of our athletes, and I’m very happy that they are happy to be here,” Erdener said Sunday, shortly after the final closing ceremony.

“They got a very warm welcome from everybody here. That is very good.”

Erdener, who also serves as the president of the National Olympic Committee in his native Turkey, was one of a handful of archery dignitaries to receive a tour of the Yankton complex on Sunday. Bruce Cull, the president of the National Field Archery Association, showed the officials – from World Archery and Greg Easton, president of Easton Foundations – around the sprawling complex.

A popular sight on the tour was likely the many yellow shirts worn by the 612 volunteers who helped out with the WAYC – a “huge contribution for this event,” Erdener said.

“Their impression, our impression too, is really good,” the president said. “I would like to thank the organizing committee, especially Bruce Cull and his team.”

As part of Sunday evening’s closing ceremony, Erdener symbolically handed over a World Archery flag to an official from Argentina, which will host the next WAYC, in 2017.

Yankton, the president said, made a positive impression on the group from World Archery.

“We had a really successful event here,” Erdener said. “I would like to thank everybody who contributed something to this event.”