Bellarmine and the Louisville Sports Commission will welcome more than 1,100 student-athletes to its city when it hosts the NCAA Division II National Championships Fall Festival in Louisville, Kentucky, on Dec. 4-6.  Tickets will be available for purchase at the venues the week of the event.

This marks the third time that Bellarmine has hosted a DII national championships festival. The fall festival features six national champions crowned in one city during the week. The overall event, which includes opening and closing ceremonies, student-athlete social lounges and community engagement activities, is structured to enhance the student-athlete experience for those who have earned berths to the DII championships. Bellarmine hosted the fall festival in 2010 and the spring festival in 2012. There will also be close to 300 volunteers from the city participating to make the event a success.

“The NCAA Division II National Championships Fall Festival has become a destination for student-athletes and we want to take this opportunity to thank Bellarmine University, the Louisville Sports Commission and the city of Louisville for all they will do to make this a wonderful and memorable experience for the student-athletes,” said Terri Steeb Gronau, NCAA vice president of Division II. “NCAA student-athletes will compete for a national title in their respective sports so we hope fans will come out to enjoy the competitions and support their achievements that first week in December.”

“We are happy to welcome the NCAA's fall festival of national championships to our campus and hometown,” said Dr. Joseph J. McGowan, president of Bellarmine University. “We appreciate the opportunity to showcase Bellarmine and our athletic facilities on a national level.”

The fall festival features competitions in men’s and women’s cross country; field hockey; men’s and women’s soccer; and women’s volleyball. The championships will be held on the Bellarmine and Louisville campuses and at local facilities. Cross Country will be contested at E.P. “Tom” Sawyer Park on Dec. 6; field hockey will take place at UofL’s Trager Stadium on Dec. 4 and 6; men’s and women’s soccer will take place at Owsley B. Frazier Stadium at Bellarmine on Dec. 4 and 6; and women’s volleyball will take place in Bellarmine’s Knights Hall Dec. 4-6.

"We're delighted to be selected as the host institution for six more national championships," Bellarmine Director of Athletics Scott Wiegandt said. "I am grateful to the NCAA for putting its trust in us by providing us with this outstanding opportunity.  As we continue to strive to compete at the national championship level, it is extra incentive for our student-athletes to have the opportunity to do so right in our own back yard."

While in Louisville, the NCAA student-athletes will give back to the community by interacting with students at Carter, Wellington, Shelby, Minors Lane, Laukhuf, Kerrick, Engelhard and Cochran elementary schools.  The student-athletes will also interact with youth at local YMCAs,  the Home of the Innocents, and at the Boys and Girls Clubs at Newburg, Shawnee and Parkland. Cross country student-athletes will make a visit to the Nativity Academy and the NCAA Division II Volleyball Committee, comprised of athletics administrators from across the country, will visit Kosair’s Children’s Hospital. Additionally, a group of Louisville schools will attend the championships as part of a class field trip and military families have also been invited to attend the competitions.

“The Louisville Sports Commission remains committed to hosting NCAA Division II National Championships,” said Karl Schmitt, executive director of the Louisville Sports Commission. “These sporting events not only have a positive economic impact on our community, they also provide high school athletes an opportunity to watch and consider Division II as an option to play sports in college.”

Schmitt said Louisville wants to make this year’s Division II Festival a great experience for the athletes who are traveling to the city to compete. “The first weekend in December is Louisville’s opportunity to showcase our community to high-achieving students who may want to return to Louisville one day for their post-college careers.”