FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- The University of Alaska Fairbanks has canceled its BP Top of the World college basketball tournament.
University officials said Wednesday they weren't able to attract teams in the competitive landscape that followed an NCAA rule change.
"The decision to cancel this year's tournament was not of our making or of our choice," tournament director Brian Hove said. "The escalation in appearance fees precipitated by the 2006 NCAA rule change has effectively priced the Classic out of the market."
Before 2006, there were 10 certified preseason basketball tournaments in the country, including the Top of the World Classic and the University of Alaska Anchorage's Great Alaska Shootout.
Rule changes in 2006 allowed any institution to host a multiple-team event; there were 45 held last year.
Alaska athletic director Forrest Karr said the increase in tournaments greatly changed how much schools were being paid to participate in tournaments.
"We have worked diligently to sell teams on the Alaskan experience, but the landscape has changed," Karr said. "It is now nearly impossible to find a school that will travel to Fairbanks when they can take a bus ride to a neighboring university and receive a game guarantee of $100,000, or more in some cases."
Three teams had signed up for the Nov. 20-23 event last year: Stanford, Morehead State and Tennessee-Chattanooga. The latter two dropped out, paying a $30,000 buyout fee, to play at events closer to their campuses, UAF officials said.
UAF secured commitments from Bradley, Central Florida and Austin Peay State for the tournament, but was still three teams shy of completing an eight-team field. Consideration was given to even signing one additional school for a six-team field, but that failed, too.
"We set July 1 as the cutoff date, and felt that if we could not secure a sixth team by then, we had no choice but to let the teams currently under contract pursue other options," Karr said.