LSC, City of Allen reach 3-year deal for men’s and women’s basketball championships
RICHARDSON, Texas – The Lone Star Conference and the City of Allen announced Wednesday a three-year agreement that allows Allen, Texas, to host the LSC Men’s and Women’s Basketball Championship tournaments for three consecutive years, beginning in 2012.
“We couldn’t happier with the decision to move our basketball tournaments to Allen, Texas,” LSC commissioner Stan Wagnon said. “There are so many reasons for us to be excited about this new partnership, starting with the beautiful Allen Event Center that will serve as home to LSC Basketball Championship action.”
Allen’s bid was selected from a pool of five other Texas cities seeking to follow Bartlesville, Okla., as the second neutral location to host the event, which dates back to 1975 for men and 1983 for women. For the past three years, the tournament has been played at Bruin Field House after previously being on member institution campuses. The championship is taking place in Bartlesville next week for the fourth and final time.
In its study of potential sites for the tournament, the LSC used a 6-person committee consisting of athletic administrators and basketball coaches to review bids and conduct site visits. Primary areas of consideration when reviewing the bids included playing facilities, lodging accommodations, finances, proximity to LSC campuses, media coverage, fan and participant experience, proximity to LSC alumni base, potential for crowds, and potential for event growth.
“We want this to be a true partnership. Certainly we intend to benefit from playing our basketball tournaments in a first-class setting, but today’s announcement is about more than just basketball games. Lone Star Conference institutions are committed to having shared experiences with our community partners, and we’ll find ways for our student-athletes and coaches to engage the Allen community,” stated Wagnon. “We strive to provide our student-athletes with opportunities for high-level athletic competition, but we’re also preparing them for life ahead so you’re going to see them serving the community and involved with other acts of citizenship. Our schools are appreciative to Allen for sharing their community with us, and our part of the partnership will be to find ways to give back and make a positive impact locally.”
Tournament games will take place at the Allen Event Center, which opened in November 2009. The $52.6 million state-of-the-art facility is city owned with approximately 8,000 plus seats in the basketball configuration with 24 luxury suites. Additionally, there are on-site private meeting rooms, food services and free parking. The arena has a modern scoreboard, two video boards and a 360-degree LED ribbon.
The Allen Event Center lends itself to a tremendous fan and participant experience, with the arena having been built as part of a mixed-use development, amidst hundreds of retail stores and restaurants.
“The Allen Even Center is a state-of-the-art facility, and being situated among all the retail stores and restaurants with the hotel next door really makes it an ideal site for a college basketball tournament,” said Wagnon. “It will provide a special setting for our student-athletes and coaches, but we’re especially excited for our fans and the well-rounded experience that awaits them in Allen.”
The 2012 tournament, to be held February 29-March 4, will be comprised of the top eight men’s and top eight women’s teams, according to the LSC regular-season standings. There will be a total of 14 games played over a five-day period, and the winners will receive automatic bids to the NCAA Division II national tournament. Ticket information will be available this fall at www.lonestarconference.org.
“We believe playing the tournaments in Allen will provide Lone Star Conference basketball teams with a tremendous opportunity to gain exposure in North Texas,” said Wagnon. “Beyond just the basketball aspect, the event will be a great tool for LSC universities to use in reconnecting with former students in North Texas while also reaching out to potential new students in the area. It gives us the ability to raise awareness not just for LSC basketball, but for the universities in general.”
The LSC, with headquarters in Richardson, Texas, currently has 16 member institutions that span three states: Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. But the league will have five fewer teams next year as a result of conference realignment.
The 11 members going forward include Texas institutions Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Angelo State University in San Angelo, University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas A&M University-Commerce in Commerce, Texas A&M University-Kingsville in Kingsville, Texas Woman’s University in Denton, and West Texas A&M University in Canyon along with Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., and Eastern New Mexico, in Portales, N.M.
Allen, a city of nearly 85,000, is located just north of Dallas in one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. The community maintains a small town feel yet brings big city style and convenience.