By Chad Waller, NAIA Director of Communications and Sports Information
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced a contract extension with the Sioux City (Iowa) Convention and Tourism Bureau to host the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship through the 2017 event. The three-year extension will have Sioux City host the event at the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena for 20-consecutive years. The current contract with Sioux City is through the 2014 event.
“Sioux City has displayed a tremendous commitment to the NAIA and hosting the Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “The NAIA is excited to continue that partnership with Sioux City through 2017. The entire Sioux City community needs to be recognized for offering our student-athletes, teams and fans a one-of-a-kind national championship experience.”
Sioux City has hosted the championship since 1998 with the first six years being held in the Sioux City Auditorium. Since 2004, the championship has been held in the Tyson Events Center/Gateway Arena. Sioux City holds the active streak as the longest tenured national championship host – the 2014 championship will be the 17th-consecutive year. The NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship and the Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series are the second-longest tenured hosts with both of those events running in the same city since 2000.
"We are very honored to be able to extend our relationship with the NAIA through the 2017 championship,” said David Harris, Sioux City Sports Sales Representative. “Every year, the City of Sioux City rolls out the red carpet for all of our guests that visit us in March. As we prepare for the 17th year (in 2014), we continue to see the overall excitement in the community and hope the student-athlete experience will be first-class.”
The 2014 championship, which marks the 23rd annual overall event, will be contested March 12 – 18 in the 10,000-seat Gateway Arena. The 32-team field is comprised of automatic qualifiers from NAIA affiliated conferences and association of independents, plus at-large selections, which will be determined using the final Coaches’ Top 25 rating. Eight games will be played on each of the first three days, with the quarterfinals set for March 15, the semifinals on March 17 and the NAIA National Championship final on March 18.
Sioux City has also hosted the NAIA Volleyball National Championship since 2008 and is under contract through the 2015 event. Other NAIA Championship events that Sioux City has previously hosted include: the NAIA Women’s Golf National Championships, the NAIA Baseball World Series and the NAIA Wrestling National Championships.
In the 22-year history of the sport, there have been 11 national team champions. Indiana Wesleyan won its second-ever Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship in 2013 with a 61-43 defeat of Davenport (Mich.). The first NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship occurred in 1992 in Monmouth, Ore., and former member Northern State (S.D.) won the inaugural event. Currently, 128 varsity programs sponsor Division II women’s basketball in the NAIA.
Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience. In 2000, the NAIA reaffirmed its purpose to enhance the character-building aspects of sport. Through the Champions of Character program, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.
To learn more about NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball, click here.
To learn more about the Sioux City Convention and Tourism Bureau, click here.