Paradise Jam moving annual hoops tourney from U.S. Virgin Islands

Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer
Colorado head coach Tad Boyle and the Buffs will not be traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jame in November. Tournament will move locations due hurricane damage.

There will be no fun in the tropical sun for the Colorado men’s basketball team.

On Friday afternoon, organizers of the Paradise Jam basketball tournament announced the event will not be held on the island of St. Thomas in the U.S. Virgin Islands due to extensive damage in recent weeks from the back-to-back salvos of Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

The event has been held in St. Thomas for 17 consecutive years.

Organizers have asked each of the eight participating schools to submit proposals for the men’s and women’s versions of the tournament, which now will feature a slightly shorter schedule. The men’s tournament, originally scheduled for Nov. 17-20, will instead be a three-day event running Nov. 17-19.

CU officials said the school is putting together a proposal to host, which could include an alternate venue in some capacity. Such a venture will require creative scheduling as the Buffs are set to host volleyball games against Arizona and Arizona State on Nov. 17 and 18.

CU is scheduled to open the tournament on Nov. 17 against Quinnipiac, followed by a game against either Wake Forest or Drake. The other four schools in the men’s field are Houston, Drexel, Liberty, and Mercer. The Paradise Jam expects to announce the new host site by Sept. 29.

Tournament organizers ultimately decided the extensive damage to the island’s infrastructure from the storms made hosting such an event in two months a logistical impossibility. Following Hurricane Irma organizers made tentative plans to move the tournament to St. Croix, but that island suffered a direct hit from Hurricane Maria.

“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,” Jennifer Ashby, the Paradise Jam tournament director, said in a statement. “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.”

Fans who purchased travel packages directly from the Paradise Jam will receive full refunds.

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