Florida Southern College will be hosting the South Regional Cross Country Championship in 2017, according to Pete Meyer, director of athletics.
“We bid on 2015, 2016 and 2017 for the cross country championships. The NCAA only gave us 2017,” Meyer said.
In order to be selected as a host, Meyer said it takes financial background information and it is not going to cost anything to the school. The event will take place at Holloway Park.
“Any time a team comes into Polk County to compete against FSC they stay in a hotel and the more nights they can get the more tax they get,” Meyer said.
Which means that tournaments are beneficial to the county.
“Ultimately those 15 to 20 men and women’s teams will each have four or five rooms for two to three nights in Polk County in Lakeland so that bed tax gets kicked back to Polk County’s Sport Marketing as income revenue,” Meyer said.
For FSC is more about a “prestigious thing” and publicity according to Meyer.
“Every NCAA tournament has a college as a host and we have a pretty good cross country team. It’s better for our kids to have a championship experience right here in Lakeland,” Meyer said.
According to Meyer they also tried to get the men’s South Regional basketball Championship, but too many other schools were trying to get it.
“We will still have a chance to host the Basketball’s Regionals,” Meyer said.
Central Florida’s Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing is always trying to bring tournaments to the community.
In this case the NCAA took bids and selected FSC to host in 2017.
The final paperwork for the South Regional Championship is not in yet according to Meyer.
“It will probably be ready in the Spring some time. We should have it,” Meyer said.
The college will work together with the NCAA to get the tournament off the ground.
“Our staff will be in charge with the NCAA and Central Florida’s Polk County Tourism and Sports Marketing. It will be a group effort. We will handle all of the statistics, hire the company that will come in for timing…” Meyer said.
To build an event like this it takes months to put everything together according to Meyer.
Besides FSC hosting the South Regional Cross Country Championship, the SSC in partnership with Central Florida Sports Comission and Team Seminole will host the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Tenis Championship in Sanalando Park in Altamonte Springs on May 14-17.
Photo courtesy of david Tomchinsky