This year College of the Ozarks will host the 22nd Annual NAIA National Tournament for the 14th time.
The NAIA tournament is a single-elimination tournament featuring the champions of the Division II conferences, regional tournaments and at-large berths.
The tournament will run from March 6 to March 12 in the Keeter Gymnasium starting at 8:30 a.m. for three days of rigorous competition for the NAIA Division II Men’s Championship. The championship final will be on March 12 at 8 p.m. and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network.
Tickets for the tournament are priced at $10.00 for adults, $5.00 for college students with a student ID, $5.00 for children ages 12 -18, $3.00 for children ages 5-12, and free for children under 5 years old. It is $65.00 for a 31 game tournament pass for general admission, and $95.00 dollars for reserved seating. If wanting reserved seating it is $15.00. The NAIA tournament is not just about sporting events. In 2000, the NAIA added Champions of Character, to enhance the character-building aspects of sports, Chad Waller stated.
The NAIA tournament involves 60,000 student-athletes, has 13 sports and 23 national championships. It involves close to 300 colleges, universities, and conferences, and gives out $450 million in athletic scholarships every year.
NAIA began in 1937 when Dr. James Naismith and other local leaders formed the National College Basketball Tournament. The first tournament was played at the Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Missouri, and in 1938, the tournament expanded to include 32 teams, which the tournament still includes to this day. In 1980 the NAIA became the first collegiate athletics association to sponsor both men’s and women’s championships by adding women’s basketball, cross county, gymnastics, indoor track and field, outdoor track and field, softball, swimming and diving, tennis and volleyball championships.
C of O is tied as the second longest host of the tournament, stated Chad Waller, NAIA director of communications and sports information in an article titled “Ozarks to Host 2014 and 2015 DII MBB Championships.” They are tied with Avista-NAIA Baseball World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. Sioux City, the longest national championship hold host, has been hosting the NAIA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship since 1998.
The NAIA is dedicated to developing character in all of its student-athletes. “In the NAIA, a dedication to leadership development is balanced with sports accomplishment,” stated the NAIA official website, http://www.naia.org. “A trailblazer in providing equal opportunity for all student-athletes. An expectation of ethical behavior, fairness in competition, access to athletic scholarship, sportsmanship and leadership development.”
The NAIA tournament is not just about sporting events. In 2000, the NAIA added Champions of Character, to enhance the character-building aspects of sports, Chad Waller stated.
“Since 1937, the NAIA has administered programs and championships in proper balance with the overall educational experience,” Chad Waller stated. “Through Champions of Character, the NAIA seeks to create an environment in which every student-athlete, coach, official, and spectator is committed to the true spirit of competition through five core values: integrity, respect, responsibility, sportsmanship and servant leadership.”