Women's championship still a moving target


The NCAA announced that three different sites will host the Division III women's basketball tournament championship weekend over the four seasons starting in 2018-19. 

The NCAA made the announcement on Tuesday as part of a larger release of all the national championship sites for Division III sports through the end of the 2021-2022 athletic season.

The women's championship will be held at the Cregger Center, on the campus of Roanoke College in Salem, in 2019 and in 2021. It will return to Capital University in 2020, which hosted the 2016 national semifinals. In 2022, it will be played at the A.J. Palumbo Center, where Duquesne University, a Divison I school, plays in Pittsburgh.

“As always, we’re excited to bring yet another NCAA Division III National Championship to our region,” said Roanoke College Athletic Director Scott Allison in a release following the announcement. “Conducting NCAA Championships on our campus helps in our efforts to spread the good name of Roanoke College. We continue to celebrate our wonderful partnership with the City of Salem and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference."

The announcement ends the bidding process that began in early 2016 when the NCAA invited bids from potential hosts for championship events in Divisions I, II and III. Bids were submitted to the NCAA in August 2016 with the initial intention of announcing the winners in December 2016. The process was delayed because of deliberations regarding North Carolina's eligibility to host NCAA championship events following the adoption and eventual repeal of its controversial bathroom bill.

According to the NCAA's press release, the individual NCAA Division championship committees reviewed the bids and selected the winners. The Division III women's basketball championship committee is currently chaired by Haverford College head coach Bobbi Morgan.

Roanoke will become the fifth different host site for the Division III women's basketball title game in the last six seasons. UW-Stevens Point hosted the event for one season before it moved to Calvin College's Van Noord Arena for 2015 and 2017. The NCAA hosted all three women's basketball championship games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in 2016. The 2018 national semifinals and final will be played at the Mayo Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

While the Division III men's basketball national championship game has been played in Salem, Va. every year but one since 1996, the women's national championship game has moved to different sites since 1999. After Western Connecticut hosted the event in 1999, 2000 and 2001, the title game had two-year stops in Terre Haute, Ind.; Virginia Beach, Va.; Springfied, Mass.; Holland, Mich.; Bloomington, Ill; and again in Holland.

Prior to 1999 the Division III women's national semifinals and final game were hosted by one of the final four participants. The last team to win a national championship on its own floor was New York University in 1997. Illinois Wesleyan hosted and played in the national semifinals in 2011, but lost both games.