SSAA basketball tournaments are as reliable as daffodils popping up each March in Tennessee, and so are the traffic changes they make necessary around MTSU.
The TSSAA High School Basketball Tournaments -- March 4-7 for the girls and March 11-14 for boys -- will cause changes in parking and traffic patterns on the campus of Middle Tennessee State University, which is again hosting the events.
As a result, motorists should be aware of several factors affecting roads and parking.
MTSU's East Main Street and Rutherford Boulevard entrances will be the most convenient campus entry points during the tournaments, university officials said.
Team buses again will park on the east side of Middle Tennessee Boulevard in what is usually the right northbound lane, creating a single lane of traffic from the Presidents' House to Faulkinberry Drive.
The Greenland Drive parking lot will be reserved for TSSAA ticketholders during both tournaments, and vehicles must pay $5 to park there. Students and faculty who use the Greenland Drive lot should prepare now to find alternative parking on campus, including the Tennessee Livestock Pavilion lot off Greenland Drive and the Rutherford Boulevard parking lots.
The university will reserve parking during the tournaments in the Middle Tennessee Boulevard, Cason-Kennedy Nursing Building and Smith Field lots for vehicles displaying appropriate campus permits. Visitors with appropriate permits also will be allowed to park in those lots.
Faulkinberry Drive will be closed at the Middle Tennessee Boulevard entrance and at Normal Way March 4-7 and March 11-14.
Motorists also should keep in mind the traffic congestion around campus and allow extra time to reach their destinations. They also can use the university's perimeter parking lots, including the Tennessee Livestock Pavilion and Rutherford lots, during the tournaments.
MTSU will be on spring break March 9-14, during the second TSSAA tournament, and no classes will be held. University offices will be open regular hours during the break.
The Raider Xpress shuttle service will not run while the university is on spring break. It will operate on its normal schedule during the girls' TSSAA tournament, however, with the exception of the "Green Route," which will not serve Greenland Drive.
Instead, the "Green Route" shuttle will serve lots along Crestland Drive as normal, then re-enter campus behind the James Union Building and make its way around Old Main Circle by Peck Hall and Kirksey Old Main. The route then will take a right on Faulkinberry and head out of campus via Champions Way back to Greenland Drive.
All other events scheduled on campus during the tournaments will be allowed first-come, first-served parking in any of MTSU's free lots, based on availability.
A searchable campus map with parking and travel notes is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15. For more information about the TSSAA state tournaments, visithttp://www.tssaa.org or call 615-889-6740.