TERRE HAUTE — A contentious point among Indiana State University fans will soon be resolved. The Missouri Valley Conference has announced that it will move its postseason women’s basketball tournament to a neutral site in 2008 for the first time ever.
The MVC will move its women’s championship to The Family Arena in Saint Charles, Mo. The tournament will include all 10 teams as league administrators and Valley women’s basketball coaches recommended the move last spring.
The 2008 dates are slated for March 13-16, one week following the men’s basketball tournament in St. Louis. The Family Arena, one of the region’s premier entertainment venues, is a multi-purpose facility that plays host to numerous sporting events. It is the home of the United Hockey League’s Missouri River Otters, as well as the Rivercity Rage of the National Indoor Football League.
“I think that moving to a neutral site is a great thing for our league,” Indiana State Coach Jim Wiedie said. “This may have been long overdue. I had an opportunity to be part of the Missouri Valley’s Neutral Site Committee, and to go through the whole phase of making that decision. It was great to see the support from the administrators throughout the process. Now, it’s our job as coaches to build our programs and our fan bases to a level that will support a neutral site into the future.”
The Family Arena opened in September 1999 and has hosted over 90 basketball events. The basketball fl oor was resurfaced in 2006. Saint Charles, Mo., is located approximately 25 miles west of downtown St. Louis, on the banks of the Missouri River.
The tournament format will remain the same as has been the past two years, since the league expanded the event to 10 teams in 2006. It begins with two games on Thursday, March 13, continues with four quarterfi nal games on Friday, March 14, two semifinal games on Saturday, March 15, and it concludes with the championship on Sunday, March 16.
“Bringing our women’s basketball championship to a neutral site is a natural progression and something we’ve been working toward for several years,” said Commissioner Doug Elgin, now in his 19th season with the Missouri Valley Conference.
The conference conducts its men’s basketball championship at a neutral site (Scottrade Center in St. Louis).
The league conducted its first postseason women’s basketball tournament in 1983, and the format change represents the second change in the women’s format since 1995. Since 2006, all 10 teams have played on a predetermined campus site.