Background on The Great Northwest
For those of you who are not familiar with
The Great Northwest Basketball League, here is some background. The League
started play in the 1995-1996 season with 33 teams of 5th and 6th
grade girls. Eighteen years later, The Great Northwest has over 1200 teams –
equally split between boys and girls.
The League boundaries
generally extend from Rochester, Minnesota, up through the eastern
suburbs of the Twin Cities, up to Duluth/Superior, over to Ashland and Hurley,
down through Lakeland-Minocqua, Antigo, Stevens Point, Wisconsin Rapids, and
Reedsburg, over to Viroqua, Westby and La Crosse. However, there are
several communities outside these boundaries who also play in The Great Northwest.
The League is really a substitute for
tournaments. Unlike many tournaments, all League meets are played in one day –
Saturday only – no Sundays. Eight teams are scheduled to play in a host
community with two courts (there are optional formats for hosting two six-team
meets on three courts or a five-team meet for host communities with
only one playing surface). The teams are divided into two groups of four. All
teams play a round-robin in their group. At the end of the round-robin play,
the two teams with the best record in each group play each other for first
place, the two teams with the second best record in each group play for third
place, etc. To keep costs down, there are no team trophies, but each player on
each team gets an oversized (12” x 2 ˝”) custom-made ribbon with the location of
the meet they attended, the date and the place they finished.
League has been successful for several reasons:
playing four games in a nine-hour day, the players get maximum playing time in a
very efficient manner. Many existing non-League tournaments are two-day events
and thus not very family-friendly, or provide fewer guaranteed games if they are
only one day in duration.
cost on a net basis is very low. Each meet will cost
a team $120, but teams receive a $580 hosting credit for each full eight-team
meet they host. All League fees, net of credits, go to purchase awards
presented at the meets, as well as pay for the cost of phone calls, printing,
postage, website communication and human resources. Host teams provide their
own officials, but keep all admission fees and concession profits.
· By centrally scheduling games, the League maximizes
the number of different teams members get to play without traveling great
distances. Prior to the League, Superior and Tomah probably never played
before. In this League, they are strategically scheduled in some place like
Chippewa Falls – halfway in between. Teams playing a 20 game schedule (5 meets)
can expect to play 17 or more different teams – and no team more than twice.
· The League seeds teams so that weaker teams are
playing only each other on a given day. The same is done with the stronger
teams. Meets are put together at four ability levels: 1) A/B+ teams; 2) B+/B
teams; 3) B/B- teams; and 4) B-/C teams.