National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA) Executive Director Dan Wood announced today that Shorter University in Rome, Georgia, has been selected as the host institution for the organization’s football and outdoor track & field championship events.
The announcement came during a press conference held Tuesday morning at Historic Barron Stadium, the venue that will serve as the host site for the Victory Bowl – the NCCAA’s season-ending football game between its No. 1 and No. 2-ranked schools – and the NCCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field National Championship.
The NCCAA and Shorter agreed to a pair of three-year deals that will keep the championship events in Rome through the 2015-16 academic year. The track & field championship was previously held in Illinois while the Victory Bowl will have a neutral venue for the first time since 1997-2000, when the annual game was held at the National Football League’s Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio.
“The NCCAA is excited and very appreciative of this new partnership with Shorter University, the City of Rome and Floyd County,” said Wood. “Having a predetermined host for our football showcase event, The Victory Bowl, will enhance not only the game day experience for our selected programs but also the full bowl selection environment.
"Our Women's and Men's Track & Field Championship has seen unparalleled improvement in the level of competition in the past three years,” added Wood. “We look forward to having Shorter and Rome continue to elevate the championship experience for our student athletes and coaches.”
“This is an extraordinary opportunity for Rome and Floyd County to host two major sports championship events,” said Bob Berry, co-chair of the Rome Championships Host Committee which, alongside Shorter, is responsible for putting on the Victory Bowl and Outdoor Track & Field Championships. “Together, they will have a significant economic impact for our community, and at the same time, add to our already impressive resume as a community that has the expertise to serve as a host site for championship sports.
“We are so appreciative of the work and support of Shorter University, its President Dr. Don Dowless, and it’s Director of Athletics, Bill Peterson, whose contacts and association with the NCCAA paved the way for these championship events to come to Rome,” Berry added. “Likewise, we are also thankful for the invaluable guidance and support of Lisa Smith and the CVB, who provide the structure and know-how to put on these major events.”
Much like it was in bringing the NAIA Football National Championship to Rome for the first time in 2008, Shorter was the driving force behind attracting the NCCAA to Northwest Georgia.
In the midst of a three-year transition to NCAA Division II, Shorter joined the NCCAA last summer to provide its student-athletes with an opportunity to compete in postseason play during its probationary period with the NCAA. Shorter captured a pair of NCCAA national championships – one in indoor women’s track & field and another in men’s basketball – and now will have a chance to bring two of the organization’s most popular championship events to Rome and Floyd County.
“We are thrilled that the NCCAA has decided to move two of its most prominent championships here to our hometown,” said Peterson, who spearheaded the championship bidding process.“Honestly, I cannot think of a better venue or a better host community. In fact, I can’t even think of a better school to serve as host. We look forward to a tremendous partnership and top flight competitions for years to come.”
Historic Barron Stadium, which has hosted the NAIA Football National Championship since 2008 and will do so for the final time on December 21, will house its first Victory Bowl several weeks prior, on Saturday, November 23. As they have with the NAIA title game, Shorter and the Rome Championships Host Committee will work together tohost the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Victory Bowl.
The week leading up to the game will closely mirror that of NAIA Championship Week, with the student-athletes participating in a series of community engagement events and service projects. The Victory Bowl figures to bring in another contingent of out-of-town guests over a multiple day period that will have a chance to enjoy Rome’s southern hospitality.
“This community and the Rome Championships Host Committee have taken great pride in hosting the NAIA Football National Championship,” said Peterson. “We are even more excited about replacing that game with two national championship events and expanding our overall focus. As George Allen used to say, ‘The future is now,’ and we are excited about looking forward and not back.
In their first joint venture of its kind, Shorter and the Rome Championships Host Committee will also partner to put on the NCCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships, which will commence at Barron Stadium in May of 2014, 2015 and 2016.
This year’s outdoor track championships in Joliet, Ill., featured over 800 student-athletes, 100 coaches and countless team supporters. A two- or three-day track championship of that size would generate another tremendous opportunity for Rome and Floyd County, which has already been the beneficiary of economic impact upwards of $10 million in five years of hosting the NAIA Football National Championship.
Conservative estimates by the Greater Rome Convention & Visitors Bureau (GRCVB) calculate an economic impact of approximately $1.23 million between the Victory Bowl and Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
“Today is a banner moment in Rome and Floyd County as we announce two events being awarded under multi-year agreements to a very deserving host and community,” said Lisa Smith, GRCVB executive director. “It is a win-win relationship for all of Floyd County and her citizens. We take each and every challenge personally and go after the business that makes sense for our community and our Shorter sports business partners.”
The NCCAA is an association of Christ-centered collegiate institutions whose mission is to use athletic competition as an integral component of education, evangelism and encouragement.
For more information on the NCCAA, contact the NCCAA National Office at (864) 250-1199 or visit www.thenccaa.org. To learn more about Rome, Georgia and sports events in the community, visit www.RomeGeorgia.org.