Author Topic: Salem, Virginia  (Read 2389 times)

Offline justafan12

  • Junior Varsity
  • *
  • Posts: 25
  • Karma: +6/-1
    • View Profile
Salem, Virginia
« on: November 04, 2016, 02:11:37 pm »
Why does the NCAA hold so many championship events in the Salem / Roanoke area?  I have been there 3 times and was never impressed with the town and things to do.  I can only speak for the softball facility as far as the NCAA venue but it was definitely nothing that made you think this is an NCAA championship.  It is a slow pitch park with temporary fences, high grass and no parking.  No WOW factor at all. 
Between Div II and III, Salem / Roanoke has hosted a NCAA softball championship every year since 2000 except for 2010 (hosted both II and III in 2011).  I think they also host DIII football championship game every year.
I just don't see the attraction unless a large amount of money is paid to the NCAA to host.

Offline jknezek

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 3934
  • Karma: +646/-86
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2016, 02:23:44 pm »
It's a competitive bidding process. Venues and supporting conferences submit every couple years for every sport.  Salem/Roanoke and the ODAC are very effective and efficient in both the process and the output. Rarely is there any kind of problem, and the community does a good job of supporting the events. Given the dispersion of DIII schools, Roanoke/Salem is not too far from huge concentrations of schools as well, so that helps.

Football and basketball are very common in Salem. Other sports come and go as well.

Offline Pat Coleman

  • D3sports.com Guru
  • Administrator
  • All-American
  • *****
  • Posts: 35588
  • Karma: +4127/-2120
  • Check the front page or FAQs before you ask.
    • View Profile
    • D3sports.com
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2016, 05:06:35 pm »
I think the most important thing with a multiple-team, multiple-day championship such as baseball or softball is organization. It takes a tremendous amount of work and there have to be a lot of volunteers willing to help manage something like that.

I have never covered the softball tournament in Salem, but I did when it was in Eau Claire, Wis., and it wasn't like it was a standout experience there, either. I liked the setting but press facilities were pretty minimal, postgame news conferences were in a tent out back with people hanging around. Could just be the nature of the facilities that are available.

Basketball and football are well done. They've had lacrosse and women's volleyball as well. They'll have men's and women's soccer there this year because of the North Carolina issues. The NCAA can trust that a championship in Salem is going to be well done, super organized and the championship experience will be the prime focus, and that's because they've hosted dozens of them.
Publisher. Questions? Check our FAQ for D3f, D3h.
Let's discuss (sports) in a positive way, sometimes kidding each other with no disrespect.

Offline Just Bill

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 3884
  • Karma: +652/-197
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #3 on: November 06, 2016, 04:18:31 pm »
I just don't see the attraction unless a large amount of money is paid to the NCAA to host.
It actually works the other way. The NCAA pays the host for their expenses. When hosts bid they make a budget telling the NCAA how much money they'll need to run the event. If the bid is accepted the NCAA pays everything in their proposed budget. So certainly, having a low cost bid can help you win the process, but low-ball too far and the NCAA will assume you're just not that committed to doing a good job. Salem benefits from having an army of volunteers that they have recruited year-to-year. When you have that many good volunteers, you don't have to request funds to pay as many people and your bid budget can come in lower.
"That seems silly and pointless..." - Hoops Fan

The first and still most accurate description of the D3 Championship BeltTM thread.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 6638
  • Karma: +506/-236
  • Broadcaster, Announcer, Analyst, and Fan!
    • View Profile
    • Hoopsville
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #4 on: November 07, 2016, 01:04:37 pm »
Salem and the Roanoke Valley do a pretty good job especially at the Division III level... they are also pioneers in the experience for the student-athletes and that has been paramount in the eyes of the NCAA. Salem was the first to introduce the community service opportunity for all teams that come to the championship weekend. They were also the first to partner with Special Olympics as part of that community service along with the events that place during the championships. They also, I believe, made the championship dinner for all teams an event. All three of those items are now part of Division III and beyond.

- The community service is now mandated at all Division III championship weekends no matter the host (and I believe it has migrated to Division II and Division I).
- The Special Olympics partnership has grown to a Division III-wide initiative that even the NCAA headquarters promotes and the national SAAC is instrumental with (it is also a major part of Division III week every April). That partnership has migrated to Division II who took the model and created their own as well.
- And the dinner is now mandated at all Division III championship weekends (if not to Division II as well) - but again, I can't remember exactly what Salem's role in this one has been. However per the championship dinner, Salem has already started to change that starting with men's basketball. They took a page from the "Salute" event at the Division I men's basketball final four and have changed the dinner to an opportunity for a student-athlete and coach to come up and speak about their team to a light-hearted round-table like chat with four student-athletes and then four coaches. I wouldn't be surprised if that starts to move through the Division.

Salem has hosted more than 80 NCAA championships in football, men's basketball, baseball, volleyball, women's lacrosse, and softball. If they were doing a bad job, if their facilities were not up to snuff, or if something wasn't right, they wouldn't have gotten those opportunities.

The community is invaluable as well, though mostly behind the scenes, as volunteers, host families, and in plenty of other ways.

Their facilities are also better than probably a majority of Division III schools even if they aren't better than some and certainly not comparable to Division I - but we aren't trying to be Division I.

The NCAA also challenges Salem to always improve. The Salem Civic Center and the Salem Stadium have both undergone several remodelings and retro-fits to improve the experience(s). Football is now a night-game experience under the lights which involves a very large TV screen, fireworks before and after the game, and plenty more to make it feel like a bigger event than many would assume it would be (especially outside of Division III). Basketball has upgrade lighting to allow them to turn the lights off for NBA-like introductions of the teams. They have big screens temporarily brought in to add to the in-game experience as well. There are plenty of other details for both championships that are too numerous to mention.

They also get the community businesses involved. The hotels in the area know that when the Salem staff comes calling it is worth doing what they can to make things work, even at the last minute. It is, while probably not huge, an economic boon for the region.

And to touch on what Pat says, those running the show in Salem do this just about as well as anyone else. They are known for their event management abilities outside of NCAA events. Big-name shows and events come to town and return because their experience and the crowds are second-to-none. The state fair held in the same parking lots and facilities is considered one of the best in the country. The NCAA returns because they have gotten and know they will get the best experience possible. Hardly ever is there anything major go wrong. They tackle minor problems like they are major ones so that everything runs smoothly. Add in the ODAC and their expertise and there is a reason that other championship hosts come to Salem to see how things are done and other conference offices (or schools) pick the brains of those at the ODAC to better understand how to improve their own championships.

All of that also adds up that despite the fact the field for the Division III soccer championships will be turf (the committees preferred grass, which is understandable), they also knew that Salem could pull off a championship weekend for both men's and women's soccer in just 60 (or less) days. It isn't that easy to do and I am blown away every time I am there for football and basketball (22 total times) and can't wait to see how they pull off soccer this year (I will be in attendance).

Now, this doesn't mean Salem rests on their laurel. I know for a fact they are nervous every year they are going to lose championships. I know for a fact the NCAA pushes and pushes and pushes to do more, with a tighter budget, and that usually results in some pride being swallowed... and/or money (by one or both entities). I also know for a fact committees which have been in Salem for years, even turning down previous opportunities to move, are talking about whether they continue going to Salem. There are tons of reasons why and almost none of them actually have to do with Salem themselves.

But there is a reason that region gets NCAA championships and now more and more conference championships (a DII conference just moved it's big football title game to Salem for the same reason the NCAA moved the soccer championships there)... they do it well. You may not have liked the softball championships for whatever reason, but I would ask you to think of two items: did you notice any real problems; did you ask the student-athletes or the teams what they thought?

Someday we will probably move some of the championships to other sites. I feel bad for those sites. The expectations and the bar have been set so high... it will be tough to adjust. And yes, I am bias... what Salem does for Division III in my opinion is second to none. Only Division I basketball final fours can trump them right now and that isn't a fair comparison.
Host of Hoopsville and The #WhyD3 Show. Broadcast Director, play-by-play and analyst for D3sports.com. Follow me on Twitter: @davemchugh or @d3hoopsville.

Offline Dave 'd-mac' McHugh

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 6638
  • Karma: +506/-236
  • Broadcaster, Announcer, Analyst, and Fan!
    • View Profile
    • Hoopsville
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2017, 11:31:01 am »
Not sure if this topic is done since no one has commented, but I figured I would update everyone on what I have heard about future decisions regarding Salem:

- Salem has put in to host the following "events" in 2018-19 and beyond (four year bid cycle, now):
- Stagg Bowl
- Men's Basketball Championship Weekend (Civic Center)
- Women's Basketball Championship Weekend (Roanoke College)
- Men's and Women's Soccer Championship Weekends (Roanoke College)


I know they have been interested in women's lacrosse and softball as well, but I didn't hear if they bid on them again.

I know Salem is nervous about losing one or all of the ones they currently have. I have heard there is a, possibly strong, bid from Canton, Ohio and the Football Hall of Fame for the Stagg Bowl. That could be for just one year or for longer per their efforts to grow their facilities and events on site. I also know a Texas contingent was on-site at this year's Stagg Bowl to see how it is done per a bid I believe they put together, but I don't know the details outside of the fact the host school is 30 miles from the site proposed (forgetting names right now).

I know men's basketball has Salem nervous for some reason. I have no idea about any other potential bids as the committee is rather quiet, but I do believe there were other bids. I also know that the men's committee has had a few voices who have expressed a desire to try other locations for no other reason than to say they did it (they have no qualms with Salem or their problems are ridiculously minor and just give them an excuse).

Women's basketball, in the meantime, is looking for a more permanent home than moving around every year or two. I know they are looking at Salem and I spoke with a powerful voice in women's basketball and the WBCA at the Division III level who actually would like to see their event come to Salem and even possibly combine with the men. Salem, as I noted, did put in for the women's event at Roanoke College's new Creggar Center. I feel that is Salem (and the ODAC) hedging it's bets. In the past, they have been told that a dual championship is not something women's basketball is interested in. That has changed 180-degrees in the last few years and women's basketball and the WBCA is absolutely interested in that now. I hope the Roanoke College bid doesn't derail Salem. That said, there is a good chance that after-the-fact they could change the location to the Civic Center.

As for other bids, I am not sure what to think... but the simple fact Salem had two-months to pull off men's and women's soccer and did it as if they had the bid for two years speaks volumes to the NCAA. Maybe the committees try other locations temporarily (i.e. football goes to Canton for one year) just to say they did it or give another location a chance before moving back to Salem. April 18th, when the bids are announced, will be very interesting.
Host of Hoopsville and The #WhyD3 Show. Broadcast Director, play-by-play and analyst for D3sports.com. Follow me on Twitter: @davemchugh or @d3hoopsville.

Offline jknezek

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 3934
  • Karma: +646/-86
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2017, 02:39:09 pm »
Interesting. As an ODAC guy I generally come down on Salem's side. However, if Canton put in a decent bid I don't know how you deny the student athletes the opportunity to have an event in conjunction or partnership with the HOF. Kind of like the year basketball was done in conjunction with the Final 4. It's just too good an opportunity.

Offline Ralph Turner

  • Hall of Fame
  • All-American
  • ********
  • Posts: 26944
  • Karma: +1658/-372
  • Hall of Famer
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2017, 03:46:59 pm »
Might the host school for the football championships being 30 miles away be Austin College in Sherman for the site in Frisco TX?

Or Southwestern bidding to host for a game in Austin TX?

Or Texas Lutheran bidding for a game in San Antonio?

All those colleges are "roughly" 30 miles away.

Offline Ron Boerger

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 6688
  • Karma: +602/-139
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2017, 06:18:47 pm »
Might the host school for the football championships being 30 miles away be Austin College in Sherman for the site in Frisco TX?

Or Southwestern bidding to host for a game in Austin TX?

Or Texas Lutheran bidding for a game in San Antonio?

All those colleges are "roughly" 30 miles away.

Kind of surprising, really.  Of the three the only one I would put money on as having the chutzpah to bid would be TLU (would have thought a much more likely candidate to be UMHB and their lovely D3 championship-ready stadium).   UT's stadium is too big for the NCAA (and they would make it prohibitively expensive).   You could have it in a HS stadium and there are several in the Austin area.   Ditto TLU and SA; you wouldn't expect them to rattle around in the Alamodome.

Two other thoughts for AC would be either the $60M Allen HS or the $70M McKinney ISD stadiums, both of which are ~30 miles from Sherman.    The latter will accomodate 12,000, the former, 18,000.   AC's such a small school they would really have to have the partner - be it Allen, Mckinney, or Frisco as mentioned by Ralph - doing most of the legwork.

Offline Ron Boerger

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 6688
  • Karma: +602/-139
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 06:21:50 pm »
All that said, my issue with Salem is that it's just hard to get to.   The close-in airports are very limited in capacity and last-second tickets are ungodly expensive (having just looked at them in case Trinity's women made it do the WBB Final Four; alas).   If you fly to one of the larger airports it's 4-6 hours driving.    I know they do a great job and don't think anything should be taken from there unless there's a superior bid.   

Offline Ryan Scott (Hoops Fan)

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 10508
  • Karma: +514/-331
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2017, 07:34:27 pm »
All that said, my issue with Salem is that it's just hard to get to.   The close-in airports are very limited in capacity and last-second tickets are ungodly expensive (having just looked at them in case Trinity's women made it do the WBB Final Four; alas).   If you fly to one of the larger airports it's 4-6 hours driving.    I know they do a great job and don't think anything should be taken from there unless there's a superior bid.

It's 3 hours from either Charlotte or Dulles, but yeah, it's a little remote.  The good news, though - not much traffic on I-81.
Lead Columnist for D3hoops.com
@ryanalanscott just about anywhere

Offline Mr. Ypsi

  • All-American
  • ******
  • Posts: 20809
  • Karma: +3103/-3072
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2017, 08:14:29 pm »
All that said, my issue with Salem is that it's just hard to get to.   The close-in airports are very limited in capacity and last-second tickets are ungodly expensive (having just looked at them in case Trinity's women made it do the WBB Final Four; alas).   If you fly to one of the larger airports it's 4-6 hours driving.    I know they do a great job and don't think anything should be taken from there unless there's a superior bid.

It's 3 hours from either Charlotte or Dulles, but yeah, it's a little remote.  The good news, though - not much traffic on I-81.

Yeah, I get the complaints from the Texas/Left Coast 'Islands', but given the geography of D3, Salem is just not that bad to get to for MOST schools.  Forget airports; it is only a one day drive for, what?, 60-70% of schools?

For the Stagg Bowl, Canton OH (HOF) is even more central and in some ways appealing, but on average the weather in Salem in early December is MUCH better.

Offline Ralph Turner

  • Hall of Fame
  • All-American
  • ********
  • Posts: 26944
  • Karma: +1658/-372
  • Hall of Famer
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2017, 11:29:15 pm »
Frisco hosted the D1 FCS championship last year.

Offline Pat Coleman

  • D3sports.com Guru
  • Administrator
  • All-American
  • *****
  • Posts: 35588
  • Karma: +4127/-2120
  • Check the front page or FAQs before you ask.
    • View Profile
    • D3sports.com
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 11:39:15 am »
All that said, my issue with Salem is that it's just hard to get to.   The close-in airports are very limited in capacity and last-second tickets are ungodly expensive (having just looked at them in case Trinity's women made it do the WBB Final Four; alas).   If you fly to one of the larger airports it's 4-6 hours driving.    I know they do a great job and don't think anything should be taken from there unless there's a superior bid.

It's 3 hours from either Charlotte or Dulles, but yeah, it's a little remote.  The good news, though - not much traffic on I-81.

Hour and a half from Greensboro. That's my go-to.
Publisher. Questions? Check our FAQ for D3f, D3h.
Let's discuss (sports) in a positive way, sometimes kidding each other with no disrespect.

Offline Gregory Sager

  • Hall of Fame
  • All-American
  • ********
  • Posts: 19320
  • Karma: +2161/-731
  • North Park Vikings: Nat'l champs, 1978-79-80-85-87
    • View Profile
Re: Salem, Virginia
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 12:01:25 pm »
All that said, my issue with Salem is that it's just hard to get to.   The close-in airports are very limited in capacity and last-second tickets are ungodly expensive (having just looked at them in case Trinity's women made it do the WBB Final Four; alas).   If you fly to one of the larger airports it's 4-6 hours driving.    I know they do a great job and don't think anything should be taken from there unless there's a superior bid.

It's 3 hours from either Charlotte or Dulles, but yeah, it's a little remote.  The good news, though - not much traffic on I-81.

Yeah, I get the complaints from the Texas/Left Coast 'Islands', but given the geography of D3, Salem is just not that bad to get to for MOST schools.  Forget airports; it is only a one day drive for, what?, 60-70% of schools?

It doesn't seem to me that the complaints come from D3's islands (Ron being an exception for the purpose of this particular iteration of the discussion); they mostly come from us midwesterners.

You say "only a one-day drive" as though that's not a big deal. Well, it is a big deal if you're a working person or someone with small children. And then there's the whole time-spent-away-from-campus issue as far as college administrators are concerned, although this is less of a problem with basketball because a lot of schools are on spring break during the D3 Final Four.

Salem is 10 hours from St. Louis, 10 and a half from Chicago or Grand Rapids, and 16 and a half from the Twin Cities. Those driving distances are not easily dismissed with the wave of a hand. It's not a leisurely Sunday jaunt in the country for a lot of northeasterners, either; Salem is eight and a half hours from Rochester and 10 and a half from Boston.

Having said that, it is universally acknowledged by everyone that the city of Salem really knocks itself out to make the championship experience a positive and memorable one for everybody who attends, be it player, staff, or fan. I'm not opposed at all to Salem continuing to host D3's various national championships. I'm simply saying that the remote location of the city is a negative factor that has to be considered when it comes to bidding for hosting rights.

For the Stagg Bowl, Canton OH (HOF) is even more central and in some ways appealing, but on average the weather in Salem in early December is MUCH better.

Football weather is football weather. Canton's average high in early December is in the low forties. If you're a fan of the sport, you won't be deterred one bit when the thermometer reads in the low forties or high thirties.
"Talent is God-given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.. -- John Wooden