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NCAA Still on Track to Announce Championship Host Sites in October

9 Sep, 2020

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
Host Cities Will Learn of Successful Bids the Same Time Everyone Else Does

The news appeared a year ago: NCAA was putting out its RFPs for championships for multiple sports, to be hosted between the 2022-23 and 2025-26 academic years. Enormous interest followed.

According to the timeline provided, bids were due the first week of February 2020, and NCAA was expected to release the big announcement of championship sites in October 2020.

Much, obviously has changed since then, including the cancellation of 2020 March Madness as well as all spring 2020 championships. Additionally, NCAA recently announced that fall 2020 championships will be moved to spring 2021.

So where does that leave the announcement of championship site awards? According to Russ Yurk, the leader of the host bid process, the organization is moving forward and keeping to its original timeline.

“We are still on track for our announcement on October 14,” Yurk noted. “I’ll be pushing out details via SportsETA as we get closer, but we’re tentatively set for 1 p.m. ET that day.”

The ability to move forward with the process is surprising – particularly in light of the challenges the organization has been facing. NCAA recently furloughed its entire Indianapolis-based staff for between three and eight weeks, which means they have been hit as hard by the pandemic as the rest of the sports and event industry. So it would not have been surprising if the host site announcements had been put on hold as well.

One thing in NCAA's favor was that timeline, odd though that may sound. The pandemic hit just after bids were due and subsequently, it was in March that many CVBs and sports commissions began furloughing and doing layoffs. Had the virus taken effect any earlier, or had bids been due any later, there is no doubt the process would have been badly scrambled. The timing of everything turned out to be strangely serendipitous.

And in general, the organization, like so many others, is still finding its way forward, step by step. For example, after making the announcement of moving fall championships to spring, there was no official word on whether the originally chosen host sites would host those events once they were rescheduled – assuming local laws and restrictions allowed them to be held in those sites.

The NAIA, by contrast, has announced its rescheduled fall championships, including new dates and where necessary, new locations for football, women's soccer, men's soccer, women's volleyball, and men's and women's cross-country nationals.

Returning to the issue of NCAA host announcements for 2022-23 through 2025-26, an enormous number of championships are up for grabs; in fact, this link contains all specifications and bid packages for the following team and individual sports:

BASEBALL

  • Division II
  • Division III

BASKETBALL

  • Division I Men
  • Division II Men
  • Division III Men
  • Division I Women Final Four
  • Division I Women Regionals
  • Division II Women
  • Division III Women

BOWLING

  • National Collegiate Women
  • National Collegiate Women Regionals

CROSS COUNTRY

  • Division I Men/Women
  • Division I Men/Women Regionals
  • Division II Men/Women
  • Division II Men/Women Regionals
  • Division III Men/Women
  • Division III Men/Women Regionals

FENCING

  • National Collegiate Men/Women

FIELD HOCKEY

  • Division I
  • Division II
  • Division III

FOOTBALL

  • Division II
  • Division III

GOLF

  • Division I Men/Women - Finals
  • Division I Men’s - Regionals
  • Division II Men
  • Division III Men
  • Division I Women’s - Regionals
  • Division II Women
  • Division III Women

GYMNASTICS

  • National Collegiate Men
  • National Collegiate Women
  • National Collegiate Women Regional

ICE HOCKEY

  • Division I Men
  • Division I Men Regional
  • Division III Men
  • National Collegiate Women

LACROSSE

  • Division I/II/III Men
  • Division I Men's Quarterfinal
  • Division I Women
  • Division II Women
  • Division III Women

ROWING

  • Division I/II/III

RIFLE

  • National Collegiate Men/Women

SKIING

  • National Collegiate Men/Women

SOCCER                 

  • Division I Men
  • Division I Women
  • Division III Men Individual
  • Division III Women Individual
  • Division II Men/Women
  • Division III Men/Women

SOFTBALL

  • Division II
  • Division III

SWIMMING & DIVING

  • Division I Men
  • Division I Women
  • Division II Men/Women
  • Division III Men/Women

TENNIS

  • Division I Men/Women
  • Division II Men/Women
  • Division III Men/Women

TRACK & FIELD (INDOOR)

  • Division I Men/Women
  • Division II Men/Women
  • Division III Men/Women

TRACK & FIELD (OUTDOOR)

  • Division I Men/Women
  • Division I Men/Women First Rounds
  • Division II Men/Women
  • Division III Men/Women

VOLLEYBALL

  • National Collegiate Men
  • Division III Men
  • Division I Women
  • Division II Women 
  • Division III Women
  • National Collegiate Beach

WATER POLO

  • National Collegiate Men
  • National Collegiate Women

WRESTLING

  • Division I
  • Division II
  • Division III
  • Division III Regional

DIVISION II FESTIVAL

  • Fall Festival - Championships Included: Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Field Hockey, Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Women’s Volleyball
  • Winter Festival - Championships Included: Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field; Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving; and Wrestling
  • Spring Festival - Championships Included: Men’s and Women’s Golf; Women’s Lacrosse; Softball; and Men’s and Women’s Tennis, Men’s/Women’s Basketball

The process could so easily have been disrupted by COVID because, according to NCAA’s bid package, visits to potential host sites by the NCAA staff are sometimes conducted. The fact that all bids were due to NCAA in February, only a few weeks prior to COVID hitting, almost certainly would have meant that any visits to host cities had barely started – although, certainly, video conferencing could have been used.

"It has been interesting to say the least," noted Yurk, "but we are making it."

It goes without saying that NCAA championships represent an enormous amount of cache for hosting cities – as well as huge wins in terms of economic impact and media coverage. Hosting championships in sports such as soccer, swimming, softball and beach volleyball that receive increased coverage in an Olympic year would certainly put cities in the spotlight. So the host announcement on October 14 will be something all applicants will be watching and hoping for; Yurk noted that host cities will not be notified in advance of the announcement.

Sports Destination Management will follow this developing issue.

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