PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Far West Classic basketball tournament apparently will get a new sponsor and return to the four-team format first used more than 30 years ago, when the tournament began in Corvallis.
Officials at Oregon and Oregon State, the schools that control the event and serve as co-hosts, plan to announce the new format and sponsor this week. Fred Meyer Inc., the large Northwest retail chain, does not plan to renew its sponsorship contract, but the tournament is expected to remain in PortOSU athletic director Lynn Snyder.
One format under discussion would have Oregon and Oregon State meet on the opening night of a 2-night tournament. qr game in the championship.
Fred Meyer officials recommended a four ck with the current eight-team format.
After the Beavers beat Clemson for last year's title, the company gave written notice that this year's Classic, Dec. 27-30 at Memorial Coliseum, would be its last. Fred Meyer held an option for 1990.
Fred Meyer began sponsoring the Far West Classic in 1983 when it was in danger of folding and signed two 3-year sponsorship contracts. Vice president for public affairs Cheryl Perrin said that along with co-sponsors, Fred Meyer will provide about $120,000 this year and spend another $40,000 on promotion.
The Far West Classic is the only eight-team holiday basketball tournament left in the continental United States. There are eight-team tournaments in Alaska and Hawaii, but under current NCAA rules, games played there do not count against a 26-game schedulat its January convention.
Oregon coach Don Monson said he does not want the Far West Classic reduced to four teams.
'I think it has an identity of its own,' hdaho to the 1981 and 1982 tournament championships, said the visibility he got helped him win the Oregon job.
Monson and others said an inability to attract well-known ts in 1956 and was held at Oregon State's Gill Coliseum. It expanded to eight teams in 1959 and moved to Portland. The Beavers won the first 10 tournaments and have won the title 17 times, compared to three for Oregon.