NAIA’s Return to Sioux Falls Great for Both Sides
It turns out a strong stance against anthem protests might benefit the NAIA after all.
The NAIA men's Division II basketball tournament is routinely held in Point Lookout, MO, at the home of the College of the Ozarks. Starting in the spring of 2018, that will no longer be the case.
College of the Ozarks President Jerry Davis wanted an association-wide rule that would force all teams and players to stand for the national anthem. If the NAIA would not oblige, then the college thought the association should move the national tournament to another location.
Of course, the NAIA couldn't follow those demands, thus forcing itself to move its men's Division II tournament.
That's where Sioux Falls comes in.
With the tournament just five months away, the NAIA needed to act fast. Potential bids started rolling in: Mitchell, S.D.; Wichita, KS; Sioux Falls, S.D.
Standing in the way of a Sioux Falls bid was the lack of a host institution. The University of Sioux Falls left the NAIA for good back in 2011, so there couldn't be a "hometown" host. But through some persistent work, Sioux Falls and the NAIA found their host institutions: Northwestern College (IA) and Dakota State University (SD).
Thus, the NAIA men's Division II basketball tournament in Sioux Falls was born. In the Spring of 2018 and 2019, the Sanford Pentagon will play host to the national tournament, and it's a move I see as mutually beneficial.
For the NAIA, it's getting a nicer venue, a Midwest location that's proven to host successful major basketball tournaments and a basketball-hungry region.
For Sioux Falls, it's getting the chance to once against prove itself as a host city. The Summit League Tournament will end just before the NAIA Tournament tips off, and the NCAA Division II basketball tournaments and the NCAA Division I hockey tournament aren't far behind.
Imagine the impression that can be made by a city hosting all of those major collegiate tournaments in the span of one month.
The end game? It sounds like it's to get the NCAA men's Division I basketball tournament to Sioux Falls. What better way to continue to make a case for yourself as a host than to create a consecutive month of March Madness?
So for the NAIA and the City of Sioux Falls, the tournament's two-year move to the Sanford Pentagon is a mutually beneficial one.
It's a chance to prove a point and drive it home.