AP NEWS

Sioux City to keep NAIA women’s national basketball tournament through 2024

February 7, 2019

SIOUX CITY -- The Tyson Events Center will continue to host the NAIA women’s basketball championship through at least 2024.

The NAIA on Thursday accepted Sioux City’s bid to host a new single division tournament for years. The city has hosted the Division II women’s tournament since 1998, the longest current active host for a NAIA championship event.

Local officials announced the NAIA’s decision at a news conference at the Tyson Thursday afternoon.

In April, the NAIA merge its two basketball divisions for men and women into a single division tournament consisting of 16 teams after the 2020 season. The move follows a recent decrease in the number of schools competing at the Division I level.

Sioux City and the Tyson also submitted a bid for the men’s tournament, proposing to hold it simultaneously with the women’s. But Corey Westra, a past director of the NAIA women’s tournament, said the NAIA decided to put the women’s and men’s tournaments at separate sites.

The NAIA did not immediately announce the host city for the men’s tourney. Sioux Falls and Kansas City, Missouri, which currently host the Division I and Division II tournaments, respectively, both bid on the single division men’s tournament.

Billings, Montana, which currently hosts the Division I women’s tournament, was Sioux City’s lone competitor for the single division tournament.

The Tyson, which seats about 6,800 for basketball, currently hosts a 32-team field. In the new single division format, 64 teams will qualify for both the men’s and women’s tournaments, but an opening round of games will be held on campus sites. The final 16 men’s and women’s teams will advance to the national sites.

The Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls hosted the men’s Division II tournament for the first time last March. The NAIA was forced to quickly find a replacement venue after the governing body and the tournament’s longtime host, the College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri agreed to end their contract. The breakup came after the NAIA turned down the Ozarks’ request that the NAIA enact an association-wide policy requiring all players and coaches to stand during the national anthem.

The Sioux Falls Sports Authority, which co-hosts the NAIA Division II men’s tournament, with two NAIA schools, Dakota State University and Northwestern College, bid on keeping the championship at the Pentagon through 2024.

AP RADIO
Update hourly