KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has announced a one-year extension with Visit Billings and Rocky Mountain College to host the 2019 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship. The event will take place at the Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark from March 13-19, 2019. The 2019 championship will mark the third-straight year in Billings, Mont.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with Visit Billings and Rocky Mountain into a third year,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “We are confident that they will continue to provide a tremendous event and an outstanding experience for our student-athlete, coaches and fans as they have in the past.”
The state of Montana has previously welcomed an NAIA national championship event 12 times in association history through 2017.
“Visit Billings, the Billings Chamber and Billings tourism partners couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunity to host the NAIA DI Women’s Basketball National Championship three years in a row,” said Alex Tyson, Visit Billings Executive Director. “The caliber of athleticism of the teams, the excitement of the fans who travel to Billings in support of the players, the economic value and the sheer professionalism of the NAIA makes this one of the best events to ever be hosted in Montana.”
March of 2017 marked the first basketball championship to travel to the Treasure State.
"We are so pleased that the NAIA has extended our contract through the 2019 season," said Bruce Parker, the Director of Athletics at Rocky Mountain College. "It is a great tribute to our wonderful community of Billings, Montana, and the efforts of so many that made the 2017 tournament such a great success. We are looking forward to working with the NAIA and Visit Billings to make the next two tournaments an even better experience for the teams and fans."
Originally constructed in 1975 and later renovated in 2010 – 2011 following a tornado that wrecked the facility, Rimrock Auto Arena is a 10,500-seat multi-purpose venue that hosts a multitude of events throughout the year, including various levels of Montana State High School basketball and the state’s All Class Wrestling Tournament.
Visit Billings, a division of the Billings Chamber of Commerce, focuses on the promotion and marketing of Montana’s Trailhead. The group focuses on showcasing how “The Magic City” can be a destination for leisure, group and business travel. To learn more about Visit Billings, click here.
Rocky Mountain College is a residential, liberal arts college of approximately 1,000 students located in Billings, Mont. The Battlin’ Bears are members of the Frontier Conference and currently offer 12 varsity and three junior varsity sports, including both men’s and women’s basketball. As the host institution, Rocky Mountain receives an automatic berth into the championship field. Should the program qualify automatically via the Frontier Conference, an additional at-large position will be available. For more information about Rocky Mountain College, click here.
The NAIA has sponsored Division I Women’s Basketball since the 1980-81 academic year, with the inaugural championship taking place in Kansas City, Mo. Former member Kentucky State downed Texas Southern, 73-67, to become the association’s first-ever Division I Women’s Basketball national champion. Currently, there are 94 institutions that sponsor women’s basketball at the Division I level. To learn more about NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball, click here. For the complete list of participating schools, click here.
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.
Host: Visit Billings
Event: Division I Women’s Basketball
Dates: March 13-19, 2019
Facility: Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark
City: Billings, Mont.
Duration: 1-year extension (2019)