Sioux City selected to keep NAIA women's tourney through 2024
The NAIA announced that Sioux City, Iowa, and the Tyson Events Center would become the host of the 2021 NAIA women's basketball national tournament on Thursday.
The first women's basketball championship to occur after both Division I and II are set to merge in the fall of 2020. The new agreement will span four years through the championship in 2024.
In April 2018, the NAIA Council of Presidents voted to approve the merger of both divisions, signaling the change in postseason beginning in the 2020-21 academic year.
Sioux City now becomes the first to be awarded the NAIA Basketball Championship after the merger.
"From the very beginning of the move to one division in NAIA Basketball, Sioux City wanted to remain a host site for the women's championship," said Corey Westra, current NAIA Division II women's basketball co-tournament director. "March and NAIA Basketball in Sioux City is a tradition here and we wanted to keep that tradition going with one division in the NAIA."
Sioux City, Iowa, is the current home to the NAIA Division II women's basketball national championship and has been since the 1998 season. The Dakota Wesleyan University women's basketball team won the 2018 NAIA Division II national championship in Sioux City.
"As NAIA Basketball goes to one division we know we will provide a great home for the Championship in Sioux City," Westra added. "With over 20 years of tradition and hosting, we know we can continue to provide a first class experience for the student-athletes of the NAIA. Our local tournament committee is committed to making this an outstanding event for the participants, fans, and teams of the NAIA. With our long standing sponsors and volunteer base, we stand ready to host a first class basketball tournament in one division starting in 2021."
With the change to one division comes a change to the format as 16 host sites from around the country will host an NAIA Opening Round tournament. The champion of each opening round will make-up the 16-team field final site at the Tyson Events Center. Currently, 32 teams qualify for play in Sioux City.
The NAIA has not announced the host site for the men's basketball tournament. Sioux Falls and Kansas City, Missouri, which currently host the Division I and Division II tournaments, respectively, both put in bids on the single division men's tournament.