CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Mountain East Conference basketball tournament appears to be headed to Wheeling after the conference office announced plans for a Tuesday news conference and Charleston withdrew its bid to host the 2019 and 2020 tournaments.
MEC Commissioner Reid Amos will appear with City of Wheeling officials at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the WesBanco Arena.
The Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau announced earlier Monday that it had withdrawn the city’s bid for the next two years.
“We pulled the bid, but not for any animosity or any negative reason, we just needed to move on, so we will pulled our bid,” Charleston CVB Vice President of Sales and Marketing Tim Brady said. “We knew that due to a date conflict with the WVSSAC Girl’s High School Basketball Tournament, which is a significant revenue driver for Charleston hotels, restaurants and retailers, we would be unable to host the MEC in 2019.
While we proposed alternate dates for the 2019 MEC Basketball Championships, we understand the conference’s desire to maintain their normal date pattern.”
The event has been in Charleston since the conference was first formed six years ago.
Priority to the Mountain East Conference the old West Virginia Conference Tournament had been at the Civic Center for many years. Typically conflicts between the conference tournament and the girl’s state basketball championships arise about every eight to nine years as the calendar is adjusted. The old WVIAC was willing to move their tournament back, but the Mountain East’s contenders did not wish to have teams sitting around for an extra week waiting to play in the NCAA Division II tournament.
“We can completely respect that,” said Brady. “We certainly are open to bidding on future years. This was a decision made for 2019 and 2020. The next time they put the championships out to bid, we look forward to bidding on that event.”