OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Three NCAA championship events have been awarded to Oklahoma sites over the next four years.
The NCAA and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association said Friday that the men's gymnastics championship will be held at the University of Oklahoma in Norman in 2012, while Oklahoma City will be the site of championship events in wrestling and women's volleyball in 2014. The wrestling event will be in March with the volleyball set for December.
Oklahoma City seems likely to host a third NCAA championship event in 2014, as the city has been the longtime home of the Women's College World Series in softball. All Sports Association executive director Tim Brassfield said the softball event definitely will be in Oklahoma City in June 2011.
OU said that in 2013, it will host NCAA regional events in women's gymnastics and women's golf in Norman.
OU will serve as the host for the men's gymnastics and wrestling championships, while the Big 12 Conference and the All Sports Association will co-host the volleyball event.
The decision to award the championships "shows the NCAA likes the job Oklahoma City does," Brassfield said. "These are pretty high-tier events. To host these in your city is a testimony to the city."
Oklahoma City has hosted the NCAA wrestling event five times — in 1983, 1985, 1989, 1992 and 2006 — but it will be the first time the women's volleyball event will be held in Oklahoma.
Bidding for the volleyball event was "something unique that we wanted to do," Brassfield said. "We wanted to see if we could bring it to Oklahoma City because we know there is a strong following here for volleyball on the club level for youth."
He said the All Sports Association "will continue to bid on things that aren't traditional to our city," such as the NCAA hockey championships, commonly known as the Frozen Four. He also said future bids are possible for small-college NCAA and NAIA events.
"Hosting championships is one of the best ways that we can support our sports programs, coaches and student-athletes, but it's also representative of the importance we place in partnering with local businesses for economic development," OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. "These championships bring new dollars into the state and metropolitan area thus strengthening our local economy."
Brassfield said the NCAA softball event has an economic impact of between $12 million and $14 million annually. He said the wrestling event could have a local economic impact of about $16 million while the volleyball event's impact could be between $10 million and $14 million.