This year's Federation Tournament of Champions basketball tournament will be the last one in Glens Falls for at least three more years.
On Wednesday, the New York State Federation Council voted to move the tournament to Albany for the years 2011 through 2013. Glens Falls, Binghamton and Long Island also made proposals before the Council at Monroe-Woodbury High School.
Albany will host the tournament at the downtown Times Union Center.
The decision to award the tournament to Albany was a surprise. Glens Falls officials had seen Binghamton as their main rival.
"I kind of have this numb feeling," Section II Executive Director and Federation Tournament Director Doug Kenyon said shortly after learning the news. "The only thing I can think of is Albany came in with huge financial incentives. ... It's kind of a shocker."
Glens Falls has hosted the Federation tournament since 1981. The event brings together boys and girls team from four associations - New York State Public High School Athletic Association, Public Schools Athletic League of New York City, Catholic High School Athletic Association and New York State Association of Independent Schools Athletic Association - to play for overall state titles.
The Federation tournament is the second of two consecutive weekends of basketball that has been held in Glens Falls for almost three decades. The State Boys Basketball Tournament, which is the first tournament held at the Civic Center each March, is under contract to Glens Falls through 2013.
While admitting it was a weird feeling to know the tournament will leave, Kenyon said he knows the Glens Falls presenting group did everything it could.
"We stretched our resources even further (for this bid), but for whatever reason, they opted to go with Albany," Kenyon said. "They must have had one heck of a proposal."
Walter Eaton, executive director of the Federation Council, said there was no single reason the Council chose Albany.
"This was the longest discussion I can remember having about this," Eaton said.
Eaton said the Council was impressed by Albany's proposal to give "an enhanced experience for the kids," but did not offer specific details.
Eaton said the Council knew what it had in Glens Falls.
"Twenty-nine years of sponsorship in Glens Falls was right in front of them. They couldn't ignore it," Eaton said. "It's a very good product."
Eaton said that money wasn't the only consideration in the bids.
"The long-term goal of the Federation is to improve its name recognition so that we can host more championships than the four we currently do, and that is an identity Albany said it could help establish," Eaton said.
Albany's bid was led by officials from the Times Union Center, the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Crowne Plaza Hotel. The arena currently hosts Division I Siena and has hosted NCAA basketball tournament regionals.
Doug McClain, assistant general manager of the Times Union Center, said there were two themes to Albany's presentation. One is that the facility is a "tournament-tested arena." The other is that the tournament could grow in Albany.
"We brought a lot of out-of-the-box ideas to drive attendance up," McClain said.
Michele Vennard, president and CEO of the Albany County Convention and Visitors Bureau, said "raising the profile of the tournament" was part of Albany's presentation. The Federation tournament has always had far lower attendance than the State Boys Basketball Tournament in Glens Falls.
Kenyon said he has nothing against the people behind Albany's bid - noting that the Times Union Center currently hosts the State Wrestling Tournament and the Section II Class AA boys basketball semifinals and final - but wonders how they can make it affordable for the Council to host the tournament.
Kenyon said not hosting the tournament will be "disappointing to me and a lot of people," mentioning specifically the many volunteers from the Glens Falls area that have worked on the tournament over the years.
Glens Falls Councilman-at-Large Dan Hall was part of the Glens Falls contingent that traveled to Monroe-Woodbury on Tuesday to make the bid. He said Glens Falls put forth its best effort.
"I just don't know what else we could have done," Hall said. "We've done everything the association has asked. We've never taken anything for granted."
As for another bid to reclaim the tournament?
"I haven't even thought that far yet," Kenyon said. "It'll be interesting to see what our crew does."