(photo by jb) The January-February 2014 issue of International Gymnast reports that the NCAA has announced the sites of the men’s and women’s national championships through 2018. While the men continue to be hosted at a school that is participating in the championship, the women’s event has morphed to a peculiar scheme of siting in a city where the host school is not a Division I school, and having the championship linger for two successive years in each location.
I will add from the standpoint of a mid-Atlantic resident that the NCAA has now guaranteed that National Championships will not be held within 400 miles of the New York-Washington corridor — the most densely populated area in the entire nation — for something like 15 years running (I think it might have been in Boston or Providence once, but Boston is about as far from Washington, DC as Alabama or Georgia is, so don’t try to tell me Boston once in 15 years is good enough).
The men’s championship will migrate from Oklahoma U in 2015 and Ohio State in 2016 to West Point in 2017 and U of Illinois-Chicago in 2018.
By contrast, the 2015 women’s championship will be take place in Fort Worth, Texas and be hosted by Texas Women’s University, a Division II school. Oddly, it will remain in Fort Worth in 2016 as well.
In 2017 the women’s championship will move to St. Louis, Missouri, to be hosted by St. Louis University, which apparently doesn’t even HAVE a gymnastics team. And, once again, the event will remain at this site a second year, 2018.
Now, I am one who objects loudly to the championship simply alternating Super-Bowl fashion between just a few top schools. Why should teams and fans from one end of the country to the other always have to travel to just a few spots like Southern California, Georgia, Alabama, Florida and Utah?
But the idea of schools that don’t even have a Div. I team and keeping the site for two years is inscrutable. No doubt the official poobahs at the NCAA are looking to bring in more $$$ by locating in major cities rather than college towns, but the dollars and whatever expediency that comes of lingering for two years at each site has overpowered fairness and common sense. Boo, NCAA!
Photo of 2005 NCAA Northeast Regional All-Around Winner Elise Ray ©2014 by J Bierbaum / www.fotosportif.com