ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands (CBS4) – A tournament in the Virgin Islands involving the University of Colorado men’s basketball team will be moved to the U.S. mainland due to damage caused by Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.
CU Associate Sports Information Director Troy Andre says all eight teams involved in the 2017 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam have been formally asked if they can host the tournament at their schools.
Tournament directors expect to have new plans worked out by September 29th.
“As a staff, it’s our responsibility to ensure the teams involved in this tournament are not negatively impacted from a safety perspective or a scheduling perspective,” said Jennifer Ashby, the Paradise Jam tournament director. “It’s also important to be aware that despite the importance of flight arrangements, hotel bookings, and basketball games, many people have suffered personal, emotional, and material damage from these storms.”
The tournament’s bracket structure will remain intact. CU will play Quinnipiac in its first game, Friday, Nov. 17th, then either Drake or Wake Forest on Saturday, Nov. 18th. A final game is now scheduled for Nov. 19th.
Teams from Mercer, Liberty, Drexel and Houston round out the tournament teams.
The 24-team women’s tournament is also moving, and those schools have been contacted about hosting as well.
“The infrastructure damage cause by both Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria did not allow for the tournament to be hosted in the territory,” CU wrote in a press release. “After damage to St. Thomas made it impossible for teams, staff, and fans to be accommodated on the island, plans were set for the tournament to be held on St. Croix. However, Hurricane Maria caused infrastructure damage to the island Tuesday night, forcing tournament directors to evaluate other options.”
One of those options assessed was playing the tournament on board a docked cruise ship. Tournament directors decided against it.
Fans who purchased travel packages and tickets directly through the Paradise Jam website will be refunded the full value of their package price.
“We want to thank not only the teams, but also the fans, staff, and locals for their understanding with this difficult situation,” Ashby said. “We’ve organized the Paradise Jam for 17 years in St. Thomas and have developed close personal ties with the people in the U.S. Virgin Islands. This was not an easy decision. Many sleepless, tear-filled nights have been spent on this disaster and we continue to push forward emotionally and professionally. We feel we have made the best decision for everyone involved and will continue to have the people of the U.S. Virgin Islands in our prayers as they rebuild from these devastating storms.”