The 2017 Great Alaska Shootout will be the event’s last

(Photo Courtesy of Sam Wasson)
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The longest running regular season college basketball tournament will no longer hold that title at the end of this year.

The Great Alaska Shootout announced on Thursday that 2017 will be the final year of the event.

“The Shootout has been an iconic event at [University of Alaska Anchorage] for 40 years, but unfortunately we cannot sustain our funding of this tournament in the current budget climate,” UAA chancellor Sam Gingerich said in a statement. “We are grateful for the enthusiastic support we’ve received over the years from our community, fans, volunteers, civic and business leaders and donors.”

Once one of the premier tournaments in college basketball, the Great Alaska Shootout had powerhouse programs such as Kentucky, North Carolina, Arizona, Duke, Kansas, Syracuse, and Louisville, among others, all claiming championships in Anchorage.

There has been an increase in the number early season college basketball tournaments in recent years, one of the most notable being the Battle 4 Atlantis. With a major television deal and located in the Bahamas, the Battle 4 Atlantis has landed some of the top college basketball teams annually since its inception in 2011. Tournaments in Las Vegas and tropical locations have also popped up as of late. Even the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has adapted and expanded its early season presence in college basketball. From 1979 to 2005, Springfield was home to an annual college basketball game that featured some of the top talent in the country. Today, the Hall of Fame sponsors several different tournaments in the northeast, Miami, and Los Angeles.

In an arms race, the Great Alaska Shootout had lost the luster it once had.

The 2017 GCI Great Alaska Shootout will begin on Nov. 21 at the Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. Cal Poly, College of Charleston, Central Michigan, Sam Houston State, Idaho, Santa Clara, CSU Bakersfield and Alaska Anchorage make up the final field.