The NCAA will host more prestigious college tournaments in the Pittsburgh region over the next four years than any other, Visit Pittsburgh officials announced Wednesday.
The Steel City will welcome 22 events, from Division III men’s and women cross country regionals in 2020 to the 2021 Division I men’s hockey championship, dubbed the Frozen Four.
Each event is held by a local school or athletic conference. Slippery Rock and Clarion universities will combine to host next year’s Division II “Fall Festival,” which includes championships for volleyball, field hockey, soccer and cross-country at Duquesne University’s Palumbo Center, Highmark Stadium on Pittsburgh’s South Side and Schenley Park.
“There’s an opening ceremonies and a closing ceremonies -- all those kids of things,” said Clarion Interim Athletic Director Wendy Snodgrass of the Olympic-style gathering. “It’s a really interesting and unique way for our student athletes to interact with one another, go to other championship events and have different experiences together.”
Visit Pittsburgh helped coordinate the bids.
Division III Presidents' Athletic Conference Commissioner Joe Onderko said he was excited when he heard Pittsburgh would apply.
“(Visit Pittsburgh) was really intent on making this a comprehensive bid, and I just want to say how appreciative we are of that,” he said. “We care and we compete just as hard as our wonderful colleges in Division I, and so we are thankful to be brought in to be part of this.”
The list of 22 events does not include the 2018 first and second rounds of the men’s Division I basketball championship, which was already awarded to Duquesne.
Robert Morris University hosted the 2013 Frozen Four and will do so again in 2021. Athletic Director Craig Coleman said they will try to build on past success.
“As technology explodes, we have more and more opportunities to provide a greater experience for the fans," he said. "That’s what we will be working on over the next several years, as well as an improved experience for the student athletes."
Most of the schools and conferences that were awarded events this week have never hosted NCAA championship events.