NCAA announces sites for relocated championships
New sites combination of first-time hosts, familiar destinations for championships
The NCAA has selected seven new sites for championships relocated from North Carolina last month. The championships will now take place in these cities:
• 2016 Division I Women’s Soccer Championship, College Cup, Dec. 2 and 4: San Jose, California (Avaya Stadium; West Coast Conference, host).
• 2016 Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships, Dec. 2 and 3: Salem, Virginia (Kerr Stadium; Old Dominion Athletic Conference, host).
• 2017 Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, first/second-rounds, March 17 and 19: Greenville, South Carolina (Bon Secours Wellness Arena; Southern Conference and Furman University, hosts).
• 2017 Division I Women’s Golf Championships, regional, May 8-10: Athens, Georgia (University of Georgia Golf Course; University of Georgia, host).
• 2017 Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships, May 22-27: Chattanooga, Tennessee (Champions Tennis Club; University of the South, host).
• 2017 Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship, May 26 and 28: Boston (Gillette Stadium; University of Massachusetts, Amherst, host).
• 2017 Division II Baseball Championship, May 27-June 3, Grand Prairie, Texas (The Ballpark in Grand Prairie; Angelo State University, host).
The NCAA opened the bid process for the championships following an August decision by its Board of Governors to relocate events originally awarded to cities in North Carolina. The board made the decision because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.
NCAA sport committees received the prospective bids for the championships in September. They then reviewed the qualifying bids and submitted recommendations to the committees responsible for the final decisions: the Division I Competition Oversight Committee, the Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee and the Division II and III Championships Committees. Bids were reviewed based on various criteria, including a site’s capacity to host championships on the dates specified and the ability to ensure a quality student-athlete experience. Host cities were also required to complete a questionnaire outlining how they will protect participants and spectators from discrimination.
“We appreciate our member institutions and the many cities across the country who were involved in the bid process for these championship sites,” said Joni Comstock, NCAA interim executive vice president of championships and alliances. “The sports committees were pleased with the quantity and quality of the bids received and are confident the selected sites will host championships that provide an outstanding experience for student-athletes, membership and fans.”
The bid process for NCAA championships for the 2018-19 through 2021-22 seasons closed in August. The involved sport committees and Division I oversight committees will also evaluate those bid proposals to determine which sites will be awarded those championships in the future. An announcement on the 2018-19 through 2021-22 championships is projected for spring 2017. Cities submitting bids for those championships also had to complete an antidiscrimination questionnaire.
The decision to select Greenville, South Carolina, marks the third time a round of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship will be played in South Carolina. Previously, Columbia hosted the East Regional in 1970, while Greenville hosted the first and second rounds in 2002. Fans who purchased tickets to the first- and second-round games originally scheduled to be played in Greensboro, North Carolina, will have first opportunity to purchase tickets to the games in Greenville.
While Grand Prairie, Texas, is hosting the state’s first Division II Baseball Championship, the other selected sites have a long history of staging NCAA championships. San Jose, California, will host the Women’s College Cup for the third time, having previously hosted in 1999 and 2000. This will be the fifth time the event has come to the state; Santa Clara, California, hosted in 1996, and San Diego hosted in 2012. The University of Georgia is no stranger to hosting the best women’s golfers; Athens, Georgia, has previously served as the final site for that championship four times.
Boston will be the center of the lacrosse universe on Memorial Day Weekend. Already set to host the national semifinals and final of the Division I Men’s Lacrosse Championship, as well as the Divisions II and III Men’s Lacrosse Championships, Gillette Stadium will now host the semifinals and final of the Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship on the same weekend. Boston also hosted the Division I Women’s Lacrosse Championship in 1984 and 2006, in addition to having hosted the three divisions’ men’s lacrosse championships in 2008, 2009 and 2012.
Two cities synonymous with hosting NCAA football championships will host the Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships. Salem, Virginia, which has hosted the Division III Football Championship game every year since 1993, will host the Division III Men’s and Women’s Soccer Championships for the first time, while Chattanooga, Tennessee, which hosted the FCS title game from 1997-2009, will serve as the host for Division III Men’s and Women’s Tennis Championships for the first time.