SportsEvents Magazine

NOV 2017

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November 2017 30 t SPORT Report volleyball went from an emerging sport to a having a national championship in less than a decade," he said. "That's faster than any other sport has done it. And the national championships, which are currently held in Gulf Shores, Alabama, are experiencing great ratings and great participation." Men's volleyball is also benefitting, as in the last few years a Men's Division III Volleyball National Championship has been established. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) requires that at least 50 schools must have the varsity program to create a championship game. In the last five years, varsity volleyball grew in 50 Division III schools, allowing for the championship to start. "In the 2018-19 season, you'll officially see the Division III schools welcome their 100 th school with varsity men's volleyball," Kessel said. "It's amazing how much men's volleyball has grown. That's literally a 50 percent increase in just the last four to five years." Junior colleges are experiencing growth in volleyball as well. During the 2016-17 season, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA)—the governing body of two-year college athletics—has seen an increase in volleyball programs across its three divisions, now with a total of 310 programs across the country. The NJCAA is also seeing more players partake in those divisions as well. "It's exciting," said Mark Krug, associate executive director of the NJCAA. "Ten years ago, we had about 3,200 student athletes. Now, on our 310 teams we have almost 4,000 student ath- letes." This November, the NJCAA is hosting the 2017 national championships in all three divisions, and to do so, it relies on strong relationships with host CVBs and cities, such as Charleston, W.Va. This year is the second straight year Charleston will host the Division II Women's Volleyball Championship, which will be hosted in the Charleston Convention Center. The NJCAA is pleased to return to the city because of the outstanding job it did last year, Krug said. "They did a great job, had really nice facilities and hotels were literally right next to the venue," he said. "Our teams were excited about their experience there last year. Charleston is very eager about host- ing, so we are excited about where that can go and how much better that championship can be because of their dedication." Longstanding partner Rochester, Minn., is hosting the NJCAA's Division III Women's Volleyball Championship, and it will be the 17 th consecutive year that Rochester Amateur Sports Commission has hosted the event. To continue to win the bid, Rochester strives to provide a top-level experience again and again, and the city is always willing to provide anything needed to make the event a success. "We have five full-time dedicated staff that can take on the role of running this event, which allows the college to focus on their day-to-day ► Panama City Beach: A Volleyball Destination Panama City Beach, Fla., is establishing itself to be a major volleyball destination. In March, the city hosted a national qual- ifier for Junior Beach Volleyball for USA Volleyball. These events allow coaches and regions to find the next great play- ers that can be sent on to USA High Performance and development camps," said Catherine Feeney, public relations manager for Visit Panama City Beach. "We are honored to be on the tour with top locations like Hermosa Beach, Laguna and Manhattan Beach, Siesta Key and Vero Beach." The city also hosts a stop on the Extreme Volleyball Professionals (EVP) tour pro/am events. EVP has a tourna- ment during the Memorial Day holiday weekend on Panama City Beach's 10-court facility at the City Pier. Typically between 20 and 30 teams in co-ed, men's, women's and youth attend. "We have had a steady working relationship with EVP for the past nine years," said Feeney. "Through this relationship, we have been able to develop, with efforts in our sports department and city of Panama City Beach Parks and Recreation, training academies for volleyball professionals." n USA Volleyball Karissa Britton/Chris O'brien The PCB EVP Tournament USA Sitting Volleyball

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