D-II Football Championship Finalists Named – GAC, Bentonville Make Cut


INDIANAPOLIS  – The NCAA on Wednesday announced the host site finalists for the final round of 81 of its 89 championships for the 2014-18 championship seasons. The Great American Conference and Bentonville Convention & Visitors Bureau emerged as one of three finalists to host the Division II Football Championship.

Tiger Stadium would serve as the venue for the championship. The NCAA also announced that bids from the MIAA/Kansas City Sports Commission and North Alabama/Shoals National Championship Committee as finalists for the Division II Football Championship. The NCAA will announce the winning site via webcast at NCAA.com on Friday, December 11.

“This is wonderful news; Bentonville would serve as a fantastic home for the NCAA Division II Football Championship,” GAC Commissioner Will Prewitt said.  “I’m confident that the Bentonville Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the GAC would be able to offer a top-notch student-athlete experience.  We’re looking forward to the site announcement on December 11 and feel confident about the bid that we’ve presented to the NCAA.”

The finalists were selected by the respective sport committees, which are made up of coaches and administrators from NCAA member schools and conferences, from an original pool of 1,948 bids. The committees will select the winning sites, which must then be approved by the appropriate divisional championships cabinets/committees. The announcement also will include all pre-determined regional host sites.

“Bentonville is honored to be selected as a finalist to host the NCAA DII Football Championship,” said Kalene Griffith, President and CEO for the Bentonville Convention & Visitors Bureau.  “We hope to be given the opportunity to showcase our city and to provide the players, fans, and NCAA a one of a kind experience.”

The 150 cities named as finalists for at least one championship are spread across 39 states and the District of Columbia. Ohio led the way as the state with the most finalist selections with 24 championship sites, while the state of Florida had 22 selections and North Carolina had 21. Louisville was the city that received the most selections with 13, while Columbus, Ohio, and Birmingham, Ala., both had eight.

“We had a tremendous response to the request for bids which made this an extremely difficult process for our sports committees,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances. “We really feel these sites will all provide a tremendous experience for our student-athletes, coaches and fans. Therefore there will be some really difficult decisions by the sport committees coming up as they determine who will ultimately host the championships.”

There are 213 hosting opportunities for the finals site of the 81 championships. Cities were able to bid for one or more years of the same championship.

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