NCAA to "Reevaluate" Bid Process for 2017, 2018 Championship Weekends

David Butler II-US PRESSWIRE

“We were hesitant to make any long-term decisions. Two years made sense," Anthony Holman, the NCAA’s associate director of championships and alliances and the championship administrator for DI men’s lacrosse, told Inside Lacrosse.

Something was notably missing from Wednesday's announcement that Championship Weekend would head to Philadelphia for the 2015 and 2016 seasons -- the sites for the 2017 and 2018 events. The NCAA had indicated, under a new bidding and championship-awarding process, that the locations of all four Championship Weekends would be announced in totem, but the organization -- somewhat oddly -- only released information about the first two years in that four-year cycle. Creating further opaqueness about the NCAA's decision to make only two determinations was the characterization that the 2017 and 2018 event sites were "TBD," fueling questions as to what the NCAA planned to do given its sharp reversal of new policy.

Inside Lacrosse did some digging into the situation and as it turns out, the NCAA exercised a measure of pragmatism and will revisit the process for 2017 and 2018 after the 2014 Final Four:

The NCAA plans to reeavalute the men’s lacrosse championship weekend after the 2014 event in Baltimore, with an eye toward possibly changing expectations and the bid process for 2017-18 and beyond.

Anthony Holman, the NCAA’s associate director of championships and alliances and the championship administrator for DI men’s lacrosse, told Inside Lacrosse on Wednesday night that the NCAA men's lacrosse championships committee didn’t lack faith in Chicago and Foxboro (the two finalists who lost out to Philadelphia for the 2015-16 events when they were announced this week) or Tampa and Jacksonville (the two other bidders), but that timing pushed them toward going with the familiar Lincoln Financial Field for the short term and using the next 12 months to do more research into what makes sense for future Final Fours.

* * * * *

“We were hesitant to make any long-term decisions. Two years made sense," Holman said. "We’ll go back to Baltimore and put on the full-court press for 2014 and then we might have to redefine what success is. All things are up for consideration, and we’ll really be able to do that in Baltimore where the pinnacle is. We’ll evaluate those things and know that we have Philadelphia locked up and not be in a hurry to make knee-jerk decisions and then we can plan beyond that.”

I'm not exactly sure what that means, but there is a care and focus here that illustrates the NCAA's concern with the event; the adopted approach also indicates that the NCAA really wants to make Championship Weekend a premier event that can sustain itself into the future. I don't think that Holman's comments mean that the NCAA is going back to the drawing board and starting from scratch, but they do imply that the NCAA will deal with site selection competently and with some different foundational blocks (whatever those foundational blocks may be).

It'll be interesting to see what the NCAA does on a go-forward basis. There are all kinds of considerations attendant in this process, but arguably the biggest -- or at least the most pressing for fans (because they impact fans directly) -- are the pricing of tickets and which venues (NFL stadia, MLS stadia, etc.) earn the right to host the game's biggest event. There aren't easy answers to any of these issues, but it's nice to know that primary actors in the process are making notable efforts toward strengthening Championship Weekend.

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