CARBONDALE — SIU will host the Missouri Valley Conference championship in three sports during the upcoming school year and a fourth event in Missouri, the league announced Wednesday.
The Salukis won the bids to host the MVC baseball tournament, women's golf championship in St. Charles, Missouri, the women's swimming and diving championship and the outdoor track and field championship earlier this month. The MVC Presidents' Council approved the bids Friday during their league meeting for the 2020-21 school year.
SIU will host the MVC baseball tournament for the first time since 1986 next May. The event at Richard "Itchy" Jones Stadium, scheduled May 26-29, 2021, will feature a six-team, double-elimination field. The Salukis were selected to host the tournament this year before the coronavirus pandemic shut everything down in March. SIU hasn't won the MVC baseball tournament since 1990.
SIU renovated Abe Martin Field in 2014 for $4.2 million and renamed it after Jones, a longtime baseball coach that was inducted into the MVC Hall of Fame in March. Jones was scheduled to have his number retired this year, but that honor has been rescheduled and is expected to take place during the 2021 season. The field has two different kinds of AstroTurf on the field, 3D Extreme in the outfield and 3Di on the basepaths. The pitcher's mound is a traditional natural surface, while the remainder of the field's playing surface is comprised of AstroTurf.
SIU hasn't hosted the outdoor track and field championships since 2014 but will host all 10 schools' men's and women's teams at the Lew Hartzog Track and Field Complex May 14-16. The complex features a 400-meter track with a full-depth polyurethane synthetic surface, accommodations for NCAA-regulation field events and spectator seating for nearly 1,000 fans, with future expansion capability. The facility also features a 4,500-square foot track and locker support building.
SIU's Shea Natatorium, located in the SIU Rec Center, hosted the MVC women's swimming and diving championship from 1994-2007 and from 2009-16 before the event went to a neutral site the last four years. The Salukis will host the 2020 MVC championship Feb. 18-20.
SIU will also host the women's golf championship in St. Charles, Missouri, April 19-20. The Salukis are the defending champions after winning the 2019 title. SIU's men's golf team is also the defending champion for the 2021 MVC championship, which is scheduled in Chicago April 26-27.
The 31st straight men's basketball tournament in St. Louis is scheduled for March 4-7 at the Enterprise Center. The semifinals are scheduled to air on CBS Sports Network, with the championship game on CBS. The 2021 women's basketball tournament is scheduled March 11-14 at the Tax Slayer Center in Moline. All nine games are scheduled to air on The Valley on ESPN.
Notably, Evansville will host the MVC softball tournament for the first time since 2003 next May at James & Dorothy Cooper Stadium. Illinois State will host the MVC volleyball tournament over Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 26-28 in Normal. Northern Iowa will host the indoor track and field championship at the UNI-Dome Feb. 27-28. The women's soccer tournament, which takes only the top-four seeds, will be played at campus sites. SIU's second-year program is entering MVC play this fall for the first time after competing as an independent last year.
On Twitter: @THefferman
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