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CBA shortens season - Feb 4, 2009

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The East Kentucky Miners today announced that the CBA's board of directors voted yesterday to shorten the 2008-2009 regular-season due to a very difficult and recessionary economy. The regular-season will end Tuesday, Feb. 3, and the CBA Championship series will begin in Albany, NY on Thursday, Feb. 5. It will be a best-of-three series between the Lawton-Ft. Sill Cavalry and the Albany Patroons, who will finish the regular season with the CBA's top two records. The Miners will finish this season in third-place, with a record of 10-7, having lost only once on their home court.

'Coming into this season, the other team owners and I knew this year was going to be a difficult one due to the economy,' stated Miners Co-owner and President Demetrius Ford. 'But we didn't expect things to be this difficult. Professional sports franchises are heavily dependent on corporate sponsorships and season ticket sales in order to operate efficiently. When you combine a recessionary economy, record home foreclosures and corporate layoffs, you have the perfect storm of fear. And this kind of fear quickly drops sponsorships and nonessential investments to the bottom of a potential sponsors list of priorities. At the close of our first season here in Pikeville, we secured enough corporate sponsorship commitments to easily cover our 2008-2009 operating budget. But as this season drew near, and the economy continued to weaken, those commitments all but disappeared. Not just in our home market, but in every CBA city. I believe every team in this league made a valiant effort to make it through such tough times, but from a business point of view, I think the decision to shorten the season was the right one. This way, teams can preserve capital for next season, the league can strengthen itself by bringing in more teams for 2009-2010, and the CBA can come back much stronger in its 63rd year of operation in a friendlier economy.'

The Miners co-owner expressed his gratitude to fans, sponsors, staff and others.

'Words cannot express how terrible I feel for our fans, season ticket holders, sponsors, players and staff,' said Ford. 'Our players went to war for us on the court, and they were great ambassadors in the community. Coach K and I will do all we can to help place these players in other leagues around the world so they can continue to pursue their dreams. To our fans and sponsors, God willing, I promise to do everything in my power to bring the Miners back to you next season. I know what the Miners and professional basketball mean to Pike and the surrounding counties, and I know what this franchise can do to help boost the local economy and how important our success is to the success of the Expo Center.'

Finally, Ford concluded, 'I want to thank everyone who bought a ticket to a Miners game, especially our season ticket holders. I want to thank the Board and management of the Expo Center for all they've done for us. I want to thank my staff and those who volunteered their time to help produce the best form of entertainment these mountains have ever had. I want to thank the Diamond Girls for all their hard work and dedication both when entertaining our fans in the arena and out in the community. And I want to extend a very special and heartfelt thank you to every one of our sponsors, who not only supported us this season, but were willing to step up when others were too afraid to.'

'The CBA Commissioner and the owners of the league made the right choice in shortening the length of the season,' said East Kentucky Miners Coach Kevin Keathley. 'In these tough financial times, it has affected all of us. This will provide all teams a chance to adjust to the economic climate. I would have loved to have played the remaining 11 games of our schedule, but this made the most sense and I will begin preparing for next season.'

The Miners coach reflected on the abbreviated season in which his team showed much promise.

'This season was one of the more competitive seasons I've experienced as a basketball coach,' Keathley commented. 'The franchises in the CBA did a good job of putting an excellent product on the floor and I hope our fans feel the same as I do. We came very close to reaching the CBA finals, and our players should be commended for such a valiant effort. Two first class organizations will square off for the championship and I wish both teams the best of luck.

'For us, we aren't going anywhere. We will begin getting ready for the 2009-2010 season tomorrow. I will begin looking at potential draft picks from this year's college senior class.

'We will continue to go out in the community this offseason and be active in several important causes. I want to thank the fans and the sponsors who helped make this season a success in my view. And I promise you, we will bring the most exciting brand of basketball in the state of Kentucky next season, just like we have the past two years.'

Representatives from the Miners organization will be in contact shortly with season ticket holders and sponsors with further information. Direct all immediate questions to

Courtesy of The East Kentucky Miners


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