NAIA Awards Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship to Frankfort, Kentucky
Frankfort Convention Center and Mid-South set to co-host national sporting event through 2013
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has awarded the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship to the Frankfort Convention Center & Mid-South Conference in 2012, 2013 and 2014, respectively. Kentucky will be a first-time host of the national championship event when year one of the three year agreement tips-off on March 14-20, 2012, inside the 5,300 seat arena.
“The Frankfort Convention Center and the Mid-South Conference have demonstrated a strong desire to host the NAIA women’s basketball national championship and is ready to showcase the NAIA’s top teams and student-athletes,” said Jim Carr, NAIA President and CEO. “We look forward to working with these tremendous partners and the Frankfort community to produce an unforgettable student-athlete experience.”
The Frankfort Convention Center is located in the heart of the Capital City and receives strong support from the local Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County Tourism, Downtown Frankfort Association and the Commonwealth of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet. The arena already plays host to the Mid-South Conference Basketball Tournament, Kentucky High School State Wrestling Championships and the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Final Four Basketball Tournament.
“We are incredibly excited to host the very best NAIA women’s basketball student-athletes and coaches in Frankfort for the next three years,” said Frankfort Convention Center Executive Director Rob Minerich. “Everyone involved -- including Frankfort Mayor H. Gippy Graham, Frankfort/Franklin County Tourism, Frankfort Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Frankfort Association -- is prepared to provide an excellent experience both on and off the court for the participants in the national tournament. This event will show how Kentucky embraces the game of basketball.”
The championship event will contribute approximately $2 million in economic impact in the Frankfort area. The vision, generosity and commitment from the city provides a collegiate sports environment that rallies community support and interest in this new Kentucky attraction. Frankfort will build on the storied tradition of NAIA women’s basketball and provide a number of opportunities for the more than 600 participants to take in the local attractions and interact with the local community through planned Champions of Character activities.
In all 116 teams compete in NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball and will play for a spot in the national championship event. The championship is a 32-team, single elimination tournament featuring 17 automatic qualifiers from 11 Division I affiliated conferences, one independent qualifier and 14 at-large berths. Frankfort will be just the fourth site in the 31-year history of the tournament. The NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship was played in Kansas City, Mo., from 1981-83 and from ’86-89; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, from ’84-85; and in Jackson, Tenn., for the last 22 years.
To learn more visit www.NAIA.org.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is the governing body for athletics programs at its nearly 300 colleges and universities throughout the United States and Canada. The long-held mission of the NAIA is to promote the education and development of well-rounded students and productive citizens through intercollegiate athletics. The association offers equitable access and opportunities for participation in its 23 national championship events held annually throughout the country.
Today, the NAIA strengthens its commitment to student-athletes and strives to enrich their college experience by supporting academic achievement and character development. NAIA Champions of Character is the association’s innovative flagship program designed to instill character values in student-athletes, coaches and youth in the communities it serves.