Why Cessna Stadium? NAIA regulations set tough parameters for its playoff hosting sites

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
So you want to host an NAIA Football Championship Series game? It’s not as easy as you might think.

Tabor College was awarded a first-round game, but the “home site” will be at Wichita State’s Cessna Stadium.

NAIA regulations dictate who and where games can be hosted and Tabor’s Reimer Field isn’t even close to meeting them.

Facilites must accomodate two teams with about 57 people in each traveling party. They also must be able to accomodate between 3,000 and 8,000 fans.

“We had to send in some specifics to the NAIA on Cessna Stadium to make sure it met the qualifications and Don (Brubacher) did that,” said Kirby Fadenrecht, vice-president for business and finance.

“It seats 30,000 with 15,000 on each side. We’ll have about 1,500 reserved seats on each side of the stadium for the respective schools.”

The bid prospectus also includes:

n A stadium-type facility with a seating capacity of 5,000 minimum and a playing surface of natural grass, preferred, but artificial turf is acceptable.

n The field shall be shall 80 yards wide and 120 yards long.

n The facility must contain an elevated press box that can house between 50 and 75 people with electric power and phone lines, while being able to accommodate television staging and talent.

n The press box must have closed-off coaches’ rooms, a public-address system and controls to electronic scoreboard.

n The facility must have platforms for TV cameras on the same side as the press box.

n Camera platforms should ideally be located between the 35- and 40-yard lines on both sides of the 50-yard line.

n Goal post must be collegiate or professional in dimensions.

n A practice facility must be available for the two days prior to the championship that contains the same playing surface as the championship game field.

n Centralized properties capable of accommodating several meetings and a banquet for 300 to 400 people.

n The price range is $70 to $85, no matter room occupancy.

Tabor officials said it was also important that the game be played at a site that wouldn’t benefit Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference rivals such as Bethel College or McPherson College.

“Having it at a neutral site was important to us,” Fadenrect said. “One, so we didn’t have to feel that we’re playing in the shadow of another conference team’s facility, and two, because it’s a more complete facility in Wichita.

“They have the support staff and event staff that we can call on to help us.”

Fadenrecht said the implications of hosting the game are special.

“It shows the strength of our program and that we’ve been advancing the capabilities of our program,” he said.

“To bring it from a status that was unrecognized almost anywhere, to a point where we’re competitive allows us to do a better job of recruiting maybe, and to show our support to the coaching staff, the athletic department and the team by having a game hosted in this area.

“This shows we’re committed to a direction of excellence in our program.”

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