College Sports

Kansas City casts wide net for future NCAA championships

The Northwest Missouri Bearcats beat Shepherd 34-7 in the NCAA Division II football championship game last December in Kansas City, Kan.
The Northwest Missouri Bearcats beat Shepherd 34-7 in the NCAA Division II football championship game last December in Kansas City, Kan. Special to the Star

The Kansas City Sports Commission has to operate with idea that past performance is not an indicator of future results.

But commission president and CEO Kathy Nelson hopes it is.

Kansas City once again is bidding for an abundance of NCAA championships. Bids for events in academic years 2018-19 through 2021-22 were submitted Tuesday. The results will be known in December, and Kansas City looks for another bounty.

In 2013, Kansas City was awarded 14 NCAA championships through 2017. No city received more championships.

“Absolutely, we’re casting a wide net,” Nelson said.

Wider than four years ago, when the city bid for 43 championships and was awarded such plums as the Division I women’s volleyball semifinals and final, to be played in 2017 at the Sprint Center, and four Division II football championship games at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City, Kan.

This time it’s 55 bids with some new sports and new partners in the works.

In most cases, Kansas City bid for the same event in all four years. The championship could be awarded once in that span, several times or not at all.

▪ Kansas City is partnering with Oklahoma State to bid for the Division I wrestling championship at the Sprint Center.

▪ It’s working with Iowa State to bring the women’s gymnastics championship to Municipal Auditorium.

▪ The National Collegiate Hockey Conference would be the host for the men’s Division I Ice Hockey Frozen Four at the Sprint Center.

▪ William Jewell would be the host for the Division II cross country regionals and national championships at Fountain Bluff in Liberty.

▪ Central Missouri would be host for the women’s bowling finals at AMF Pro Bowl in North Kansas City.

▪ Kansas City also submitted bids to continue holding championships that were awarded in 2013: Division II football at Children’s Mercy Park, Division II men’s and women’s soccer at Swope Soccer Village, and the Division I women’s volleyball championship at the Sprint Center.

▪ Kansas City also submitted a bid for the Division II volleyball championship with the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association and Rockhurst as co-hosts.

Unlike the previous bid cycle, this one includes Division I men’s basketball, and Kansas City also asked for first- and second-round NCAA Tournament games at the Sprint Center, which will hold the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals and final this season.

The political landscape may favor Kansas City. As part of the bid process, cities were sent questionnaires by the NCAA concern discrimination issues.

In April, the NCAA Board of Governors approved a new requirement for potential host sites. They must “demonstrate how they will provide an environment that is safe, healthy and free of discrimination, plus safeguards the dignity of everyone involved in the event.”

Earlier this year, Missouri lawmakers defeated an anti-LGBT “Religious Freedom” bill, and in Kansas no action was taken on an anti-transgender “bathroom bill.”

“We were so fortunate because we were able to check no to both,” Nelson said.

Blair Kerkhoff: 816-234-4730, @BlairKerkhoff

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