The Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference selected IU Southeast to host the semifinal and championship games this year.
“I’m very honored to host the KIAC this year,” Joe Glover, athletic director, said.
Previously, the KIAC was a Kentucky-school conference only, but it has now expanded to Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania, adding more teams to the competition throughout the years.
Now, ten schools within the KIAC will compete for a championship winning title.
The KIAC is also a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Together, these two associations recognize numerous athletes, as well as coaches, by giving out scholarships and other awards.
The conference is held annually; however, this will be the first time IU Southeast has hosted since 2006.
“A lot of things have changed since then — from some of the schools mascots, even to the way the tournament is laid out,” Glover said.
There are ten schools that participate in the tournaments for both men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The participating schools this year are Alice Lloyd, Asbury, Berea, Brescia, Carlow, Cincinnati Christian, IU East, Midway, Point Park and St. Louis College of Pharmacy.
Glover said the participating schools are typically not widely known for their athletic departments and tend to be smaller schools.
“This tournament will be a great way for our school and other competing schools to showcase their athletics,” Glover said.
Bill Melton, KIAC commissioner, said each school within the conference is granted the opportunity to host the event, and it is a great way for the school to make money.
“Teams can gain advertising sponsorships for their school and only have to pay a host fee,” Melton said.
Glover said the host fee is $7,000 — $3,500 each for both the men’s and women’s team.
Before the championship games are held at IU Southeast, teams will go head-to-head at various schools involved with the conference.
“The tournament starts by having the lower ranking team’s play against one another based on the team’s roster,” Bill Melton said. “The teams that lose will be eliminated, and those that will go on to play in the semifinals and the championship conference held in New Albany.”
The teams with the higher season standings will host the first games.
The first round will be held Feb. 21-23.
The semifinals will be held Feb. 25 and the championship games will be held Feb. 26.
However, times of the games have not been chosen yet.
Once the winners are named, they will participate in a national conference, held by the NAIA. The teams will participate with 31 schools from all over the country.
The winning women’s team will travel to Sioux City, Iowa, for the national championship, and the winning men’s team will journey to Branson, Mo.
“Everybody is going to fight hard to win this tournament,” Melton said. “There are a lot of good teams this year.”
This year, the games and the statistics will also be broadcast live on the athletics website.
“This is a great event, and we are glad to bring the tournaments back to our local Southern Indiana community,” Glover said. “We hope our community will embrace this event. There is no doubt these tournaments will help add to our rich basketball tradition in the state of Indiana.”
Glover said he is very proud of the IU Southeast’s teams.
They have won KIAC championship awards for the past two years.
Glover said the winners of the championship get to participate in a tradition called cutting the net.
After the championship games, each player of the winning teams, both men’s and women’s, will be able to be raised up to the net and cut a piece from it to keep.
Glover said he proudly displays pieces from the net in his office.
“What will help our teams win would be more fan support,” Glover said. “We don’t get to host this event very often, so, by having the community get excited about this event, it helps us get excited and win.”
By GAIL FAUSTYN