More than 900 student-athletes will travel to Pittsburgh to compete for six NCAA fall championships from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1 when SportsPITTSBURGH, Clarion and Slippery Rock host the 2018 NCAA Division II National Championships Festival.
This is the 11th Division II festival to be held, and Pittsburgh is the seventh city to host the event. The NCAA Division II festival was created to enhance the overall student-athlete experience for those who earn berths to Division II championships. The festival has an Olympic-type setting, featuring an opening and closing ceremony for the student-athletes and a social lounge area where athletes can congregate, similar to an athlete village. The festival also features participation in community engagement during the week.
Student-athletes will compete for NCAA titles in six sports during the week: men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball. Field hockey will be held Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the Arthur J. Rooney Athletic Field at Duquesne; men’s and women’s soccer will be Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at Highmark Stadium; women’s volleyball will be Nov. 29-Dec. 1 at the A.J. Palumbo Center at Duquesne; and men’s and women’s cross country will be Dec. 1 at Schenley Park.
Ticket and schedule information are available at ncaa.com/d2festival.
“We look forward to the NCAA Division II National Championships Fall Festival in Pittsburgh, as this multichampionship event is exciting and it has a unique feel for student-athletes,” said Terri Steeb Gronau, NCAA vice president for Division II.
“We want to thank SportsPITTSBURGH, Clarion University and Slippery Rock University for hosting the festival, and the local sports venues for welcoming more than 900 student-athletes who will compete for six NCAA championships in the city. Our student-athletes will also do community engagement while they are in Pittsburgh as a way to thank everyone for their support during the festival,” Gronau said.
Jennifer Hawkins, executive director of SportsPITTSBURGH, said: “We are honored the NCAA chose Pittsburgh to host the Division II National Championships Festival and excited to welcome these elite student-athletes, their families and fans to our city. In Pittsburgh, we know how much hard work and discipline it takes to become a champion. We are ready to cheer on these student-athletes in the city of champions.”
Student-athletes who have the highest grade-point average in the six festival sports will be honored with an NCAA Elite 90 award at opening ceremonies. The NCAA honors student-athletes with this academic award for each of its 90 championships.
To show thanks to the city of Pittsburgh for supporting them during the weeklong festival, student-athletes will participate in several community activities around their practices and competitions. NCAA student-athletes will read to local classrooms and talk about goal setting; conduct sports drills at a Boys and Girls Club; make crafts with children at a local hospital; and visit Veterans Affairs hospitals to support injured military personnel.
To date, more than 8,900 NCAA student-athletes have competed in Division II National Championships Festivals. Festivals are held every four years for fall, winter and spring Division II championships. The first festival was held in Orlando, Florida, in 2004.
Media interested in covering any of the Division II festival events, including the news conference, must apply for a credential at ncaa.com/media by Sunday, Nov. 25. Staff will be on-site to assist with any b-roll or interview requests.