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Great Alaska Shootout ends after 40 years

(WJRT)
Published: Aug. 24, 2017 at 2:30 PM AKDT
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The 2017 Great Alaska Shootout will be the 40th and final edition of the tournament, according to the University of Alaska Anchorage.

"The Shootout has been an iconic event at UAA for 40 years, but unfortunately we cannot sustain our funding of this tournament in the current budget climate," said UAA chancellor Sam Gingerich.

This announcement comes on the heels of $2 million cuts over the past four years to the athletic department, according to Gingerich.

At 2 p.m. on Thursday, the university announced that after the 2017 tournament, it can no longer host the Great Alaska Shootout due to funding.

“Last year the expenses were about $850,000, and the gross receipts were about $380,000, we lost about $477,000 dollars last year,” said UAA athletic director Tim McDiffett.

During the press conference, the board ensured that this year's final Thanksgiving-weekend tournament event is good to go.

"While we mourn its impending loss, we are committed to making the 2017 GCI Shootout a first-rate experience for the teams, patrons, and a celebration of its rich history," said McDiffett.

Both Gingerich and McDiffett expressed their gratitude towards the people who supported the Great Alaska Shootout until the end.

“It hurts, but I’m also a realist,” said UAA head men’s basketball coach Rusty Osborne. “I understand the financial situation our state is in, and I support the core mission of our school, which is student success.”

Osborne has memories both good and bad of his 78 games spent on the sideline at the shootout like in 1993 when the Seawolves upset Tim Duncan and Wake Forest.

“In my young naiveté I say we got a chance to beat these guys,” says Osborne remembering scouting the Demon Deacons as an assistant coach. “Looking at that right now from my lens as a head coach with experience, it’s kind of ridiculous.”

Many also consider Cincinnati’s 1998 championship upset of Trajan Langdon’s and Duke, one of the shootouts greatest games.

The 2017 Great Alaska Shootout will be held between Nov. 21 through Nov. 25 at the Alaska Airlines Center.