Atlantic City, NJ gets clarity about future of MAAC Tournament
A week ahead of the 2022 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament returning to Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, we now have news about the future of the MAAC Basketball Tournament in Atlantic City.
The MAAC has announced on Wednesday that they have agreed to a one-year extension to bring their 2023 Basketball Tournaments to Atlantic City's world-famous arena off the boardwalk. This means the 2023 MAAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships will be hosted at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall from March 7-11, 2023.
MAAC Commissioner Richard Ensor said the following as part of the Conference's press release about the one-year extension:
“The MAAC membership is pleased with the hosting agreement for the annual men’s and women’s basketball championships being extended in Atlantic City through March 2023 - This is great news for local college hoops fans and I want to thank the management team at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall, the Atlantic City Sports Commission and CRDA for their continued support. As the region emerges from the pandemic that has impacted live sports and entertainment, the MAAC sees 2022 and 2023 as a tremendous opportunity to revitalize interest in MAAC basketball for the teams and fans travelling as well as the local community.”
The MAAC Men's and Women's Basketball Tournament were first hosted at Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall in 2020 but was cut short as part of the global sports' shutdowns because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. The 2021 MAAC Tournament was successfully hosted in Atlantic City but with only select fans and media allowed into the building. The 2022 MAAC Tournament games will be open to the general public and tickets are on sale for the first time in 2 years. Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall is still operating under COVID-19 Guidelines which includes requiring attendees to wear face masks.
General Manager of Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall Jim McDonald released the following statement about the one-year extension for the 2023 MAAC Basketball Tournaments to Atlantic City:
“We are excited to announce the renewal of our partnership with the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and that we will be once again hosting the 2023 MAAC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships - We look forward to showcasing our world-class facility to the spectators and provide a great backdrop and atmosphere for each of the participating university’s student-athletes and coaches.”
Last year's defending Men's Basketball Tournament Champion is Iona College (New Rochelle, NY) coached by Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Rick Pitino. The Iona Gaels are the 2021-22 MAAC Regular season champions and the Men's Basketball team has won five of the last six MAAC Men's Basketball Tournaments. Their main competition in this year's MAAC Men's Tournament in Atlantic City is Sienna College (Loudonville, NY) and Saint Peter's College (Jersey City, NJ). Saint Peter's Peacocks Men's Basketball Team is coached by former Seton Hall Star Guard and now Head Coach Shaheen Holloway.
No word at this time from the MAAC or Jim Whelan Boardwalk Hall or CRDA about why this is only a one-year extension but 2023 would mark the fourth straight year a Division One Conference Basketball Tournament will be hosted in Atlantic City. The winner of the MAAC Men's and Women's Tournaments will get automatic qualifier bids into the 2022 NCAA Tournament. Before the MAAC arrived in Atlantic City in 2020, the last time Boardwalk Hall hosted a College Basketball Conference Tournament was from 2007-2012 when the Atlantic 10 hosted their Basketball Tournaments in Atlantic City.