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NCAA to Host 2006 Fall Sports Festival on November 15-19, in Pensacola, Florida

April 13, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS - On the heels of the success of its spring sports festival, the NCAA announced today that it will host its first ever fall sports festival for Division II student-athletes, November 15-19, 2006 in Pensacola, Florida.

The NCAA Division II Fall Sports Festival will feature 70 teams, which include more than 800 student-athletes vying for NCAA titles in men's and women's cross country, women's field hockey, women's volleyball and men's and women's soccer. The event, which is structured similar to an Olympic-type event, will be held over a period of five days in the same geographical location. Partnering with the NCAA on the Division II Fall Sports Festival are the University of West Florida and the Pensacola Sports Association.

"The Division II Fall Sports Festival is a wonderful opportunity for student-athletes to compete for an NCAA title, support peers in other sports, and enjoy a national championship atmosphere at the highest level," said NCAA senior vice-president for governance and membership Bernard Franklin.

"We had success two years ago in our spring sports festival based on comments from student-athletes and athletics administrators, and we anticipate having the same type of top quality championships and excitement for the fall sports festival. I also want to thank the University of West Florida, the Pensacola Sports Association and the many others who are working behind the scenes to make this experience special for NCAA Division II student-athletes," Franklin said.

The goal of the Fall Sports Festival is to enhance the student-athlete collegiate experience; to create more awareness and exposure for NCAA Division II sports; and to increase attendance by hosting multiple championships. The festival will feature opening and closing ceremonies, social opportunities for student-athletes, youth clinics and other community events, and a salute dinner for participating teams. Student-athletes will be housed in centrally located hotels, allowing for an athlete-village type atmosphere. The NCAA plans to conduct a championships festival once every four years to give each class of student-athletes the opportunity to participate.

The venues for the 2006 Division II Fall Sports Festival will be:

1 Men's and Women's Cross Country - Escambia County Equestrian Center 2 Women's Field Hockey - Brosnaham Soccer Complex 3 Women's Volleyball - University of West Florida Fieldhouse 4 Men's and Women's Soccer - Brosnaham Soccer Complex

"The University of West Florida Athletic Department is extremely proud to host the first ever NCAA Division II Fall Sports Festival," said Richard Berg, athletics director at the University of West Florida.

"Our university is very excited to work with the Pensacola Sports Association to make this an outstanding event and rewarding experience for the hundreds of student-athletes who will participate," Berg said.

"Pensacola is thrilled to host the Division II Fall Sports Festival," said Ray Palmer, executive director of the Pensacola Sports Association. "The opportunity to host the NCAA, regarded by many in the sports world as the premier sports organization in the United States, is a chance for the entire Pensacola community to show off our many assets to the NCAA, the participants and the fans." said Palmer

"The benefits of hosting this event are many, including the short-term economic impact and exposure to the long-term impact of return visitors, in addition to the hosting of additional NCAA events in the future," Palmer said.

The NCAA held its first sports festival in the spring of 2004 in Orlando, Florida for national championships in lacrosse, tennis, softball and golf. More than 84 percent of the student-athletes surveyed following the spring sports festival said they enjoyed the festival atmosphere more than individual championships. Additionally, over half of the student-athletes said they enjoyed the opportunity to attend other sport championships during the spring sports festival.

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