For the first time in history, the Iowa High School Boys State Basketball Tournament will finish on a Friday night.

This week, the Iowa High School Athletic Association (IHSAA) announced major changes to the basketball tournament and the boys' state swimming meet for the upcoming 2017-18 winter seasons. The changes include shortening the basketball tournament to a five-day event and moving the location of the annual swim meet from Marshalltown to Iowa City.

Under a new schedule format recently approved by the IHSAA's Board of Control, the upcoming 2018 basketball tournament will feature five days of competition at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines. Seven games will be played on both Monday and Tuesday, starting at 9:30 a.m. Six games will be played each of the following three days, beginning at 10:30 a.m.

According to IHSAA Executive Director Alan Beste, the new format is designed to boost sagging attendance.

Alan Beste - Courtesy: IHSAA
Alan Beste / Courtesy: IHSAA

“Our goal in moving the state basketball tournament to a five-day event is to reduce conflicts with college basketball tournaments and spring breaks that many school districts are engaged in and provide our schools, communities and fans a shorter tournament week experience," Beste said in a news release announcing the change. "We believe we can create more of a championship environment by playing all championship games on the same day – Championship Friday. Each day/evening of the tournament will be considered a single session ticket whereby all games on a given day will be included in the admission price.”

The 2018 state tournament is set for March 5-9. Consolation games, which have been played since 1929, will continue to be part of the event.

The new format is the first major change for the boys state basketball tournament since the move from three classes to four in 1985. The 2018 event will mark the first time the final day of competition is not scheduled on a Saturday.

Des Moines has hosted the state basketball tournament each of the past 55 years and 61 of the last 63. The upcoming event will be the 96th held under the administrative auspices of the IHSAA and 107th overall.

In another change announced by the IHSAA, the state swimming meet is moving to a new location. The 82nd annual event on Feb. 10, 2018, will be held at the University of Iowa's Campus Recreation and Wellness Center in Iowa City. The state of the art facility, which has hosted Big 10 Conference and NCAA meets, features a 25-yard competition natatorium and also has an adjacent 25-yard warm-up pool.

The Marshalltown YMCA-YWCA has hosted the state swimming meet since 2005.

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