RPS 205 hosting two major, multi-state basketball tournaments in June

ROCKFORD – Rockford Public Schools will be the host of two major high school basketball tournaments as the region positions itself as a mecca of NCAA Certified summer basketball competition.

Last year, after the FBI announced that shoe companies were illegally funneling hundreds of thousands of dollars to amateur basketball players and their families, the NCAA made a number of sweeping rule changes.

One of those changes was limiting the number of evaluation period days that non-scholastic event operators are allowed to host events open to division one coaches. Many of these non-scholastic events are sponsored in part by shoe companies. Beginning this summer, two of the non-scholastic live periods are being moved to June, where only scholastic organizations are allowed to run the events and the events are only open to school-based teams.

The June events must be approved by both the state high school association and the National Federation of High Schools, organized by high school coaches or their organizations and held at middle school, high school or college (non-D1) facilities. Approved June events will be open to college coaches at all levels, including division one.

Mat Parker, athletic director of Rockford Public Schools, went to work right away on securing tournaments on both weekends for Rockford.

“With the success of the 205 Tip-Off Classic, which has drawn teams from California, Florida, Indiana and Wisconsin, and East getting to the 4A final four, there’s a sense that Rockford basketball is on the rise and we wanted to build on that momentum,” Parker said.

The Chicagoland Summer Showcases I and II will take place in Rockford and Belvidere June 21-23 and June 28-30. The games will be played at Auburn, East, Guilford and Jefferson high schools, Rock Valley College and Belvidere North High School.

Several other cities in the Midwest plan on holding tournaments, but Rockford is the only one that will hold tournaments over both weekends. The two events in Rockford are also the only events in Illinois where teams from multiple states are allowed to participate. This means the Rockford events are likely to draw a higher level of competition.

“What sets us apart is how we work together,” Parker said. “When we started talking about this, we got 100 percent buy-in from Rock Valley College and the Rockford Park District with the Sports Factory. Belvidere North was receptive when we started talking about needing more courts.”

“These tournaments will bring thousands of kids and their families to Rockford, and we wanted to act quickly and run a quality event and position ourselves as the place to play in the Midwest.”

Rockford East High School coach Roy Sackmaster, who runs the high school summer league, is helping with organization. Auburn coach Bryan Ott, who is the area representative on the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association executive board, is helping recruit teams.

“There is terrific long-term potential for Rockford remaining a choice du jour for these events,” Ott said. “Rockford has a chance to emerge alongside Chicago and Peoria as a mecca for high school basketball. And college coaches coming here for the live events certainly will enhance the opportunities for Rockford area athletes to draw significantly more recruiting looks than perhaps they have received in the past.”

Posted on 04.04.19