KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) announced the new dates for its postponed fall championships on Thursday. Its National Administrative Committee (NAC) convened to approve the new dates, and in some cases, new locations, for the spring of 2021.
In the last week of July, the NAIA Council of Presidents (COP) voted to postpone 2020 fall national championships to the spring. This move also allowed NAIA conferences and institutions the autonomy to schedule games as they see fit, playing entire schedules in the fall, spring, or a hybrid of both seasons. Football, women’s soccer, men’s soccer, women’s volleyball, and men’s and women’s cross-country national championships were all affected by this decision.
“We feel good about resetting these dates after taking a good look at our fall championship events, and being able to find dates that fit for our membership and our most of our host venues,” said Bill Popp, President of the NAIA National Administrative Council and Director of Athletics at Reinhardt (Ga.). “This was a tough task and the group that has been working together both from the national office and NAC have really done an exceptional job. My hat is off to them for the hard work.”
The NAIA Football National Championship has been rescheduled to occur on a Monday for the first time. The championship will remain at Eddie G. Robinson Stadium at Grambling State University and will take place on Monday, May 10, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. CT.
The NAIA Women’s Soccer National Championship has been relocated from Orange Beach, Ala., just seven miles away to Foley, Ala., at the Ralph Schumacher Soccer Complex as the Orange Beach Sportsplex undergoes construction. The re-scheduled national championship will take place from April 27 – May 3, hosted by Foley Sports Tourism. The Orange Beach Convention and Visitor’s Bureau was instrumental in finding a suitable replacement as it continued its longstanding partnership with the NAIA during the rescheduling process. Women’s soccer will return to Orange Beach once again in the fall of 2021.
The NAIA Men’s Soccer National Championship will also make a move and will switch coasts to the east. Due to scheduling conflicts with the Orange County Great Park in Irvine, Calif., the men’s national championship is in final discussions with Columbia County, Ga., to host at Blanchard Woods Park May 4 – 10, 2021. The county is expected to approve a memorandum of understanding on the terms of this move by September 1.
Women’s Volleyball will be staying put in Sioux City, Iowa for the 13th consecutive year. The Tyson Events Center will again play host as teams will battle it out for a national title from April 27 through May 1.
In both men’s and women’s cross-country, a new date was established in April as both coaches and student-athletes will navigate the difficulty of having the sports of track & field and cross-country at the same time. The re-scheduled cross-country national championship will take place on April 9, 2021 and will remain in Cedar Rapids at Seminole Valley Park, hosted by Cedar Rapids Tourism.