Kansas City, as it always does, cast a wide net when it came to bidding for NCAA championships and landed a couple of attractive events.
The Sprint Center will host the NCAA Division I men’s basketball Midwest Regional in 2019, two years after holding the event for the first time last March, when Oregon beat Kansas to reach the Final Four. The Missouri Valley Conference will be the host.
That was the only basketball event awarded to Kansas City over a four-year period announced by the NCAA on Tuesday.
The Division II football championship will remain at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan., for another four years, starting in 2018 with the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association as the bid partner. The championship game first came to Sporting Kansas City’s stadium in 2013 and a snowstorm and blustery weather in last December’s game didn’t deter the NCAA from returning to the site of Northwest Missouri State’s last two national championships.
“Today is a great day for Kansas City and the MIAA,” commissioner Mike Racy said. “We are a great football conference and our fans appreciate having this championship close to all of our member schools.”
But Kansas City got shut out of some other events that it has hosted in the past, like volleyball and wrestling. Also, ice hockey was a longshot and the Frozen Four won’t be coming to the Sprint Center.
Kansas City submitted a total of 55 bids for nine sports during the four-year period.
The only other championship awarded to Kansas City was women’s bowling, which will be hosted by AMF Pro Bowl in North Kansas City in 2021 with Central Missouri as the bid partner.
In all, Kansas City was awarded six championships. In 2013, the first time the NCAA made this type of announcement, Kansas City landed 14 championships, including some for which it had not submitted a bid.
“I’m thrilled with what we’ve been awarded,” said Kathy Nelson, Kansas City Sports Commission president. “It would have been nice to have had more, but I’ll always say that.”
The NCAA received more than 3,000 bid submissions, and 84 of the organization’s 90 championships across all divisions were up for grabs. A total of 613 sites in 43 states were awarded for this cycle.
One of those states, North Carolina, got a handful of events after losing championship last year when the NCAA found that state laws limited legal protections for the LGBT community. North Carolina became eligible again when state lawmakers negotiated a compromise bill.
Among other cities that landed first- and second-round men’s basketball games: Des Moines, Iowa and Tulsa, Okla. in 2019; Omaha, Neb. and St. Louis in 2020; Wichita and Dallas in 2021; and Fort Worth, Texas in 2022.
The 2017-18 school year is the last of the current bid cycle and Kansas City will be the site of NCAA Division I women’s volleyball championship at the Sprint Center, as well as the Division II football title game at Children’s Mercy and the Division II men’s and women’s soccer semifinals and final at Swope Soccer Village, all in December.
Also, the NCAA Division I women’s basketball Midwest Regional will be played in March at the Sprint Center.
For the next bid cycle, several Missouri and Kansas cities landed events.
Joplin, Mo., with Missouri Southern as the host, will hold Division II men’s and women’s cross country regionals in 2018 and 2019.
Pittsburg, Kan., and Pittsburg State will hold the Division II indoor track championships in 2019 and 2022.
Lawrence and KU will hold Division I men’s and women’s outdoor track preliminaries at Rock Chalk Park and a men’s and women’s cross country regional at Rim Rock Farm in 2020.
Missouri will hold women’s gymnastics regionals in 2021 at Mizzou Arena in Columbias.