How Kings playoff run could interfere with Sac State’s graduation ceremony

If they light the beam during playoffs, Golden 1 could be double booked


Jack Freeman

If the Kings make a deep playoff run, Sacramento State has confirmed that graduation will be moved to Hornet stadium. Graduation has been held at Golden 1 Center every year since it opened in 2017. (Photo Credits: Nathan Ray Seebeck – USA Today (Kings), Emily Rabasto – State Hornet (Graduation), Sac State Athletics (Hornet Stadium), Jacob Peterson – State Hornet (Golden 1)) (Graphic made in Canva by Jack Freeman)

Nathan Cromwell

Sacramento State’s graduation ceremony is in danger of being moved out of Golden 1 Center if the Sacramento Kings continue their stellar play deep into the NBA postseason.

Before Sac State changes its graduation plans, the Kings will have to make it all the way to the Western Conference Finals.

Here’s what would have to happen for graduates to be moved back to Hornet Stadium:

Playoffs Outlook

The world is a different place since 2006, the last time the Kings made the playoffs. 

Sac State has become accustomed to using the Kings’ downtown arena for commencement since 2017. However, due to the NBA team’s recent success, the Kings may have to take back their arena for the month of May.

As it stands currently, commencement is set for May 19-21. The NBA Western Conference Finals are set to begin around May 16 or 17. 

To secure themselves a spot in the coveted conference championship, the Kings would have to win their first and second round playoff matchups. This is a feat they haven’t accomplished since the 2002 series versus the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tournament timeline

The NBA Playoffs format involves a best-of-seven series: the first team to win four games advances to the next round.

The team with the higher seed hosts the lower-seeded team for the first two games of the series, while the lower-seeded team hosts games three and four. 

This means that series’ start dates are not set in stone, so faster series from surrounding teams could move up the date of the Western Conference Finals. 

With the NBA Playoffs being a best-of-seven series, Golden 1 Center will need to be ready to host games for over a week if the Kings make it that far. Their success would directly interfere with Sac State’s commencement.

Sac State President Robert S. Nelsen has announced a backup plan in case Golden 1 Center becomes unavailable come graduation time.

If the Kings make it to the NBA Western Conference Finals, commencement will be held at Hornet Stadium, rain or shine,” Nelsen said in a campus-wide email. “Our university events team is working to ensure that, if commencement is at Hornet Stadium, it will be a high-quality, unforgettable experience for our graduates and their guests.”