It will soon be that time of year again, folks! No, not hunting season. No, not tourist season (yet!). No, not the summer season. No, not the holiday season either. Can you guess? It will very soon be…basketball season! That’s right, Branson dwellers, business owners and vacationers – it is almost time for the 2014 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship held at College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri. Get your game face on and get ready to watch some wicked hoop shooting, ladies and gentleman!
The NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletes) has long been a forerunner in combining athletic sports with academic rigor. In 1937, the NAIA began to put forth sports programs and championships that held a proper balance with the importance of college student’s overall educational experience. This combination of sports and schooling has put the NAIA at the top of their game in the world of collegiate athletics; students in this association strive to be the absolute best they can be, in the classroom and out, on and off the court, field or track. In 2000, the NAIA developed Champions of Character, through which the association re-adhered to their goal of fostering the character building aspects of athletic sports, which further fostered the success of the association.
Every year since 2000, College of the Ozarks, a four year college known for their rigorous character building curriculum, has hosted the basketball championship that has become the kickoff for the annual Branson tourist season. Hosting this event has become a symbol of pride for ‘Hard Work U’ and for the community – the basketball championship draws five hundred NAIA students and coaches, and over twenty-five thousand fans, and requires nearly seven hundred volunteers. That makes for not only great basketball games, but great business for local restaurants, hotels and shops.
This year, the basketball championship will be held March 12 through March 18, 2014. There will be thirty-two men’s basketball teams playing at the near Branson college campus. The games will be played in a single-elimination format. Since College of the Ozarks is the host institution for the 2014 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship, they will receive a host berth for the games. The college is currently tied as the second-longest active tenured national championship host.
So if you want to see some of the greatest college basketball athletes in the nation play a good game of basketball, and also support a local college and the community that backs it, make plans to attend the 2014 NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship at College of the Ozarks!