The NCAA Division II football championship game will not be played at Children’s Mercy Park in December as scheduled. Field renovations at the home of Sporting Kansas City, scheduled immediately after the MLS season, have forced the change in plans.
The NCAA has reopened bids for this year’s game, set for Dec. 15. At a later date, it will accept bids for the 2019-21 championship games, which previously were awarded to Children’s Mercy Park.
“It’s a sad day for Kansas City and for NCAA Division II football,” said Mike Racy, commissioner of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association, which has served as the event’s host.
The Division II championship game has been played in Kansas City, Kan., since 2014.
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Sporting KC issued a statement that confirmed the field renovations and team CEO and president Jake Reid shared the disappointment.
“We’ve enjoyed the event, it’s a perfect fit for the stadium,” Reid said. “We’re disappointed for sure. But the only time for us to do the renovation is between December and February. It’s a small window, and that’s what it came down to.”
The MIAA and region likely will bid to keep the championship in the region, looking at sites at MIAA schools or Arrowhead Stadium as possibilities.
“Our community is disappointed because we look forward to this championship every year,” Kansas City Sports Commission president Kathy Nelson said. “We understand the Sporting KC situation when it comes to the field, and that’s extremely important, but the timing is unfortunate.”