NAIA could potentially leave town after a big decision today
One of Sioux City's longest running sporting events could potentially leave town following a vote today.
The NAIA has been in two divisions for women's basketball for 26 years and Sioux City has hosted the Division 2 tournament for 21 of those years.
But now the organization is consolidating to just one division meaning our tournament could be going away.
"You know I think people need to understand that the NAIA is about compromise and getting the job done and working together as a group and I have every confidence that that's going to happen in this case as well, you know it is a big decision in the NAIA today," said Corey Westra, GPAC Commissioner.
The news from the annual NAIA national convention in Kansas City came early Monday afternoon.
Starting in the 2020-2021 academic year, the NAIA is moving to a single division for both men's and women's basketball.
According to Westra, it's a change that's been in the discussion phases for more than a year.
But he says, he's not worried, because Sioux City has a great relationship with the NAIA.
"The longest even before there was an NCAA tournament, we got a lot to be proud of, a lot to look forward to and I know that we will here in the NAIA," said Westra.
Erika Newton, who manages the Tyson Events Center, which has been the venue for the Division 2 basketball tournament since it opened in 2003, says they'll be working aggressively to keep the annual event following 2020.
"The economic impact is in the millions in terms of dollars that it brings into the community for local business, so it's very important, really not to the Tyson Event Center, as much as it is to the local communities so a lot of businesses really plan on that March income whether it's a retail store, hotels, or restaurants, so it's a really important tournament to the community," said Newton.
Again, this decision won't take effect for this coming season or the one after that but in the 2020-21 season.
Sioux City will be competing for the women's basketball tournament with the city currently hosting the Division I women's basketball tournament, Billings, Montana.
Bids for the women's tournament are due in September, with a decision coming shortly thereafter.