All the bids are in, but where the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament will be played in the upcoming seasons remain uncertain.
The NCAA on Wednesday is scheduled to announce the finalists and potentially the host sites for the 2015-18 NCAA Tournaments. While the NCAA did not reveal the names of the more than 20 bids submitted to host an upcoming men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament, there are several locations that could be ideal venues for the event.
Check out the 10 locations that could be intriguing places for the NCAA to select as future host sites for an upcoming NCAA Tournament.
EAST COAST VENUES
Penn State (Rec Hall)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2011
Case to host: Penn State has become the standard eastern destination for the NCAA Tournament hosting the event the last three times it was played on the East Coast. The Nittany Lions have reached the NCAA Tournament the last 15 years and have traditionally led the EIVA in home attendance average, inlcuding finishing the nation’s top 10 last season with an average of 714. In addition, when Penn State last hosted the NCAA Tournament it had a 3,761 people attend its semifinal match.
George Mason (Patriot Center)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 1990
Case to host: Penn State may seem to be the front-runner for an East Coast bid to get the NCAA Tournament, but if another EIVA school is in contention it would be George Mason. George Mason in its only time as NCAA Tournament hosts had more than 5,000 people in attendance for the championship match and at the time set a record for best total attendance for a NCAA Tournament played on the East Coast. With more colleges in the southeast starting to add men’s volleyball, a NCAA Tournament in Virginia could also be a way to reward the region for growing the game.
Ball State (Worthen Arena)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 1992
Case to host: Ball State is not only the birthplace of Midwest college volleyball, but the sport has a passionate fan following throughout Muncie, Ind., with fans that would attend even if the Cardinals missed the tournament. The last time Ball State hosted the NCAA Tournament it was the most attended college men’s volleyball event in almost 20 years with a 13,102 total attendance. In addition, the Cardinals’ home venue of Worthen Arena is one more spacious courts in college men’s volleyball and can seat up to 11,000 people.
Ohio State (St. John Arena)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2007
Case to host: A popular destination in recent years for big volleyball tournaments has been Columbus, Ohio. The city played host the USA Volleyball Girls National Youth Championship and is scheduled to play host to the USA Volleyball Boys Junior National Championships in 2015. The Buckeyes have also seen an attendance increase each time it played host to the NCAA Tournament, including having almost 5,000 people at the 2007 championship match.
IPFW (Memorial Colesium)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2000
Case to host: At one point, Fort Wayne, Ind., held the men’s volleyball NCAA Tournament attendance record when more than 15,000 people attended the event in 1994. IPFW has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2007, but Hall of Fame coach Arnie Ball has a young team that could easily be in contention for a MIVA championship within the next few years. In addition, playing the NCAA Tournament in Fort Wayne would cost the NCAA less in team travel expenes than playing the event in larger city.
WEST COAST VENUES
Hawai’i (Stan Sheriff Center)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2004
Case to host: Hawai’i is annually among the nation’s leaders in home attendance average — and that even includes recent years when the Rainbow Warriors are rebuilding and struggling to just make the postseason. The NCAA Tournament has been held in Hawai’i three times, and the school still holds the event’s total attendance record with 18,901 people at the 1998 NCAA Tournament. One of the big setbacks to Hawai’i getting a NCAA Tournament bid, though, could be cost as the NCAA would have to pay for all the team’s travel expanses to the island.
BYU (Smith Fieldhouse)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2009
Case to host: BYU is not only the national leader in home attendance average but it brings in sold-out crowds of more than 5,000 people for regular season matches at the start of the year. The Smith Fieldhouse is an appropriate size venue for the event and can even be filled if the Cougars don’t make NCAA Tournament. In addition, BYU finished last season in the national championship match and has been in serious contention for a NCAA Tournament berth the last four years.
Long Beach State (Walter Pyramid)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2003
Case to host: The Walter Pyramid is one of the best volleyball venues in the nation. The arena has played host to the NCAA Tournament twice in the last 15 years and an Olympic qualification tournament in 2012. Long Beach State also finished last season fourth in the nation with a 898 home attendance average and has a proven ability to attract big crowds for big matches.
UC Irvine (The Bren Events Center)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2008
Case to host: When UC Irvine played host to its first NCAA Tournament five years ago it exceeded exceptions with a near sell-out for the championship match and a total attendnace of 9,003. The Anteaters ended last season with the nation’s third best home attendance average, and the Bren Events Center continues to improve each season as a volleyball venue. It also doesn’t hurt your case at a possible bid when you’re the two-time defending NCAA champions.
UCLA (Pauley Pavilion)
Last time hosted NCAA Tournament: 2013
Case to host: Playing the NCAA Tournament at UCLA is almost the equivalent to the College World Series being played every year in Omaha, Neb. UCLA has hosted the NCAA Tournament a record 14 times and enters its second season in the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion. In addition, the Bruins had the highest neutral site attendance for a championship match in 14 years when it played host to the most recent NCAA Tournament in May.