NCAA Announces Changes to Championship Line-Ups
12 Feb, 2021By: Mary Helen Sprecher
The NCAA has made some major announcements about its spring season and as expected, news, all relating to championships and their siting, is making a big impact on the sports event industry.
Here’s a snapshot view:
Women’s Division I Basketball Moves to San Antonio: The Alamo city is going to host 64 teams between March 21 and April 4.
Six championship rounds featuring 63 games will be played using five venues and six courts in San Antonio, Austin and San Marcos, Texas, with the Alamodome hosting two of those courts.
The NCAA is currently in discussions for games to be played at the following venues and schedule: First-round play will take place March 21-22 at the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s (Texas), Frank Erwin Center (Texas), University Events Center (Texas State) and the UTSA Convocation Center.
Second-round play will shift entirely to venues in San Antonio, with the Alamodome, Bill Greehey Arena and the UTSA Convocation Center playing host March 23-24.
The championship will shift to the Alamodome for all remaining rounds, with the Sweet 16 games played March 27-28, Elite Eight games held March 29-30 and the Women’s Final Four conducted April 2 and 4.
Diamond Health will serve as the testing provider for the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship and will be responsible for testing within the controlled environment for players, coaching staffs, administrators and officials. The NCAA will continue to work closely with the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District on approved medical protocols shared by the NCAA and will continue collaborating leading up to and during the championship. No decision has been made on fan attendance at this time but if allowed, it will follow the local
For the full story. see SDM’s expanded coverage here.
NCAA Moves Three Other DI National Championships to One Location Each
Due to the unique circumstances brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Division I Competition Oversight Committee approved consolidating the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship and National Collegiate Bowling and Women’s Ice Hockey Championships to one location each in the spring of 2021.
The changes are based on the medical guidance of converting all rounds of the championships to predetermined sites and reducing the overall number of sites.
Women’s Volleyball: All 48 teams participating in the Division I Women’s Volleyball Championship would gather in Omaha, Nebraska, which had been scheduled to host the 2020 NCAA national semifinals and finals.
All rounds of the tournament would be played at the CHI Health Center Arena and Convention Center from April 13 through 24. The current schedule is as follows:
- First-round matches would occur April 13, followed by second-round matches April 14. The regional semifinals would be held April 17, followed by the regional finals April 19.
- The two national semifinal matches would be April 22, and the national championship match is scheduled for April 24.
Bowling: All 16 teams participating in the National Collegiate Bowling Championship would travel to Kansas City, Missouri, to compete in AMF Pro Bowl Lanes April 7-10.
- Selections for the championship would be moved back a week to March 31. Regional competition would occur April 7-8, with the finals scheduled for April 9-10.
- NCAA Bowling Committee members think the competition can be conducted over a four-day period within state and local guidelines.
Women’s Ice Hockey: All eight teams participating in the NCAA National Collegiate Women’s Ice Hockey Championship would travel to Erie, Pennsylvania, to compete in Erie Insurance Arena during the period of March 15-21. Selections for the championship would be announced March 7.
Two of the quarterfinal games would be conducted March 15, while the remaining two quarterfinal games would be held March 16. The semifinals of the Women’s Frozen Four would take place March 19, followed by the national championship game March 21.
The proposed changes to the format are in response to directives to have as few preliminary-round sites as possible. By eliminating the four on-campus, quarterfinal-round locations, the NCAA Women’s Ice Hockey Committee will be able to provide the most effective and efficient competition.
NCAA’s DI Men’s Basketball in Indianapolis won’t be the only game in town; the Big Ten moved its tournament to Indy as well (it was previously scheduled for Chicago) and that will end just prior to March Madness taking the floor.
NCAA Division II Announces Predetermined Men’s and Women’s Basketball Regional Sites:
The NCAA Division II Championships Committee has chosen predetermined regional sites for the 2021 NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championships.
Region: Location/Facility | Venue(s) | Host(s)
- AtlanticWest: Liberty, West Virginia | Academic, Sports & Recreation Complex | West Liberty University
- Central: Aberdeen, South Dakota | Barnett Center | Northern State University
- East: Albany, New York | Albany Capital Center | The College of Saint Rose
- Midwest: Evansville, Indiana |Ford Center | University of Southern Indiana and the Evansville Sports Corp.
- South: Valdosta, Georgia |The Complex | Valdosta State University
- South Central: Lubbock, Texas | Rip Griffin Center | Lubbock Christian University and Visit Lubbock
- Southeast: Harrogate, Tennessee | B. Frank Turner Arena | Lincoln Memorial University
- West: Golden, Colorado | Student Recreation Center; Lockridge Arena | Colorado School of Mines
Regional quarterfinal games will begin Saturday, March 13, followed by the semifinals Sunday, March 14, and the regional championship Tuesday, March 16. Winners will advance to the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Elite Eight in Evansville, Indiana, on March 24-27.
Region: Location/Facility | Venue(s) | Host(s)
- Atlantic: Columbus, Ohio | Greater Columbus Convention Center | Ohio Dominican University and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission
- Central: Warrensburg, Missouri: Multipurpose Building | University of Central Missouri
- East: Buffalo, New York | Daemen College Athletics Complex | Daemen College
- Midwest: Ashland, Ohio | Kates Gymnasium | Ashland University
- South: Dahlonega, Georgia | UNG Convocation Center | University of North Georgia
- South Central: Canyon, Texas | First United Bank Center | West Texas A&M University
- Southeast: Jefferson City, Tennessee | Holt Fieldhouse | Carson-Newman University
- West: Grand Junction, Colorado | Brownson Arena | Colorado Mesa University
Regional quarterfinal games will begin Friday, March 12, followed by the semifinals Saturday, March 13, and the regional championship Monday, March 15. Winners will advance to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Elite Eight in Columbus, Ohio, on March 23-26 at the Columbus Convention Center.
Division II Announces Plans to Move Forward with Other 2021 Championships
The Division II Management Council and Presidents Council announced its plan to host all DII 2021 winter championships.
According to NCAA, nearly all finals sites will remain the same, except for the women’s basketball (mentioned above) and wrestling championships. The wrestling championships will be at the America's Center in St. Louis.
Some changes were made to regional alignments for the 2021 Division II men’s and women’s basketball championships to better balance the number of active teams in each regional while trying to maintain geographic proximity for the schools in the regional. A full review of those changes can be found here.
Additionally, because DII schools presently have limited access to indoor track & field facilities, a recommendation was approved to eliminate the minimum number of contests required for selection for this year’s Division II Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships (previously, it was three contests with 10 participants) and instead require one qualifying mark.
Changes to Baseball and Softball Championships
Changes have been made to the formats, as well as dates of selection and regional competition, for the Division II 2021 baseball and softball championships.
Championships for both sports in 2021 will consist of one round of regional competition to advance to the finals, eliminating the super-regional round. The regional competitions will be completed over a single weekend in a double-elimination format to determine which team advances to the finals site.
Additionally, as a result of the consolidation, baseball and softball’s selections and regional-round dates will be moved back to provide schools more opportunities for regular-season games. The competition dates for the finals sites did not change.
Baseball’s championship dates will now be as follows:
- Selections: May 23.
- Regionals: May 27-30.
- Finals: June 5-12 in Cary, North Carolina.
Softball’s championship dates will now be as follows:
- Selections: May 16.
- Regionals: May 19-21.
- Finals: May 27-31 in Denver.
Division III Championships Cancelled for 2021
Because of low participation numbers among member schools, NCAA Division III winter championships have been canceled for the 2020-21 academic year, noted the NCAA in this official statement.
The national championships affected are the following:
- Basketball – Men’s: Manchester and Visit Fort Wayne, Indiana, Venue: Allen County War Memorial Coliseum Arena
- Basketball – Women’s: Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) and City of Salem, Virginia, Venue: Cregger Center
- Swimming & Diving (Men’s and Women’s): Location not listed on NCAA site
- Indoor Track & Field (Men’s and Women’s): Mount Union and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission, Venue: SPIRE Institute, Geneva, Ohio
- Ice Hockey (Men’s and Women’s): Location not listed on NCAA site
- Wrestling: Wisconsin-La Crosse, Venue: La Crosse Center
There has been no word yet on the spring DIII championships, including baseball, golf, lacrosse, rowing, track & field (outdoor), tennis, softball and baseball. Fall DIII championships were cancelled.