COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. Kansas University's Bill Self and the rest of his Big 12 coaching brethren have been heard.
Following the coaches' recommendation, the Big 12 board of directors Thursday voted to alter the format of the postseason tournament. Starting in 2009, the event will begin Wednesday and end on Saturday, not NCAA Tournament Selection Sunday as in the past.
The coaches have long been concerned about not returning to their campus from the conference tournament until Sunday night and then possibly having to depart for the NCAAs as early as Tuesday.
"It would be a better scenario for all teams, especially the ones who finish on Sunday prior to the NCAA Tournament," Self said of a Saturday conclusion to the tourney.
Championship sites for the three-year period beginning with the 2008-09 academic year also were approved Thursday.
Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium will play host to the 2008 Big 12 football championship, while Oklahoma City was selected as host site for the 2009 men's and women's basketball tournaments.
The new Dallas Cowboys stadium in Arlington, Texas, was granted the Big 12 football championships for 2009 and 2010.
The Sprint Center in K.C. landed the men's tournament in 2010 and 2011. The 2008 hoops event will be held at the Center in March.
"We sincerely appreciate all the cities that submitted proposals," commissioner Kevin Weiberg said. "These are always difficult decisions and we have been very appreciative of the efforts of all the cities and those that have hosted in the past."
K.C. and Dallas will not be named permanent sites of the hoops and football events.
"This awarding of sites does not set any precedent of anchoring our championships in particular cities," noted Nebraska chancellor Harvey Perlman, chair of the Big 12 Board of Directors. "The Board continues to be supportive of rotating these championships."
KU coach Self has long been a fan of the hoops tournament in Kansas City. During his playing days at Oklahoma State, the Big Eight Tournament was held in Kemper Arena.
"I think the tournament should only be in a city that will support it. I'm not talking attendance, but interest," Self said. "They bought the tickets (in Dallas in past), but we played Nebraska in the semifinal game, and there were 5,000 people at that game. It's disappointing when there should be more than that.
"I can't think of any place in our region that has the history of supporting an event like this as well as Kansas City. This will be a great way to showcase what will be one of the finest arenas in America. Hopefully, it's a situation Kansas City will once again do a great job getting behind this event and make it special enough all coaches feel it needs to be here on a fairly regular basis."
He also has applauded the job Oklahoma City did a year ago. "Oklahoma City is a good venue for attendance. Also, the arena is located in an area where downtown is revitalized, making it popular for the fans who attend the games."
The men's championship will be at Sprint Center; the women's at Municipal Auditorium. The men's event begins on Wednesday, with the title game taking place on Saturday. The women's championship will begin on Thursday and end on Sunday.