The Sacramento Kings’ playoff run might impact Sac State Commencement

Ceremony to be moved to Hornet Stadium if the arena is taken


Tierra Tilby

The Golden 1 Center, and the precarious location for Sacramento State’s spring commencement, in downtown Sacramento on March 8, 2023. If the Sacramento Kings make the NBA Western Conference Finals, Sacramento State will be forced to move locations for its commencement, likely to Hornet Stadium. (Photo by Jacob Peterson, Graphic made in Canva by Tierra Tilby).

Tierra Tilby

Sacramento State’s commencement may be moved out of the Golden 1 Center to Hornet Stadium if the Sacramento Kings make a run into playoffs this season

According to the NBA, the Western Conference Finals will begin around May 16 or 17, with the chance of it being pushed up to the 14 or 15. With commencement set for May 19-21, the possibility of commencement being held at Golden 1 could drastically change. 

For the NBA playoffs, it’s a best-of-seven series. This means games occur over the span of about two weeks if all seven games are necessary.

In the scenario of any playoff, those games would be hosted from each team’s respective arena with the home team hosting the first two games and the away team hosting the third and fourth games. The teams would then go back and forth in hosting games.

In this scenario, rights to Golden 1’s physical space would belong to the Kings. 

Sofia Gazyeva, a graduating biomedicine major, said the potential of an outdoor commencement would not be ideal given the hot summer weather. While she’s looking forward to graduating in May, regardless of the location, she said her biggest concern is how her guests would withstand the summer heat. 

“I would not be too happy about that [potential heat] because my family is going to have some little kids potentially there,” Gazyeva said. 

If Sac State is forced to move commencement to Hornet Stadium, Kristen Tudor, the deputy chief of staff for the Office of the President, said the university wants to prevent any potential heat-related incidents, similar to what occurred at UC Davis’ ceremony last spring.

“We’ll have a schedule and we’ll publish it as soon as we know we’re making a change,” Tudor said. “The schedule would essentially be a morning ceremony and then an evening ceremony.”  

The uncertainty of the location of commencement is a concern for graduating students like Audrey DeCou, a child and adolescent development major. Overall, DeCou said she was just happy having a ceremony. 

“As much as I would like to graduate at Golden 1, I feel like it wouldn’t bother me because I would still have a graduation ceremony still, which means a lot to me,” DeCou said.

Maria Olivarez, a graduating anthropology major, said she doesn’t see anything wrong in the potential of permanently moving commencement ceremonies to Hornet Stadium. 

“I don’t really mind,” Olivarez said. “I know other schools have them outside so, I see no big deal since the [football] field is pretty big and can hold a lot [guests] with the bleachers.”

Tudor said the Kings get priority over the arena because of a contract Sac State has with the Golden 1 Center for commencement.

“We are hard at work on backup plans to have commencement at Hornet Stadium,” Tudor said. “I can assure you that the dates for commencement for the weekend 19, 20 and 21 will not change but the schedule will.”

There has yet to be an official statement from Sac State on what could happen to the afternoon ceremonies held Friday, May 19 and Saturday, May 20.

In the future, the possibility of the Kings making the playoffs in the upcoming seasons is something Sac State will take into consideration for commencement, Tudor said.

“We’ll be discussing whether we want to make a permanent change or continue to have sort of the uncertainty that we’re facing right now,” Tudor said. “And I know no one likes that uncertainty, I certainly don’t.”