First-ever NCAA Division II Men’s and Women’s Basketball Festival slated for 2026 at UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse
PITTSBURGH – At a virtual media briefing today, representatives from SportsPITTSBURGH and the Pittsburgh Local Organizing Committee, along with County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and Mayor Bill Peduto, discussed the story of the successful relationship between the NCAA and Pittsburgh that continues to be told – evident by the 11 NCAA preliminary and championship events awarded to Pittsburgh yesterday.
Division I Men’s Basketball First and Second Rounds will return to Pittsburgh and PPG Paints Arena in 2024. Duquesne University will repeat as host for the seventh time ever and the second time in two years, as the school also will host the first and second rounds in 2022; that bid was awarded in 2017.
Additionally, Pittsburgh will host the 2023 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Regionals at the University of Pittsburgh’s Petersen Events Center. Three years later, the first-ever Division II Men’s and Women’s Basketball Festival will be held in 2026 at Duquesne’s UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse.
All told, the NCAA preliminary and championship events awarded to Pittsburgh spanned Divisions I, II and III and included seven new-to-Pittsburgh events.
“We are again grateful to the NCAA for their continued confidence in Pittsburgh to host preliminary and championship events,” SportsPITTSBURGH Executive Director Jennifer Hawkins said. “We have received a lot of positive feedback from the NCAA about the championships we have hosted from 2018 to the present and about how we have provided their student-athletes with life-long memories. And, it is important to note that we were awarded these events yesterday when we still have three more championship events to host from the 2017 bid cycle, including the 2021 Frozen Four at PPG Paints Arena, which will be hosted by Robert Morris University.
“As we have said many times, this announcement is not about any one university, sports venue or organization. It’s about Pittsburgh! The Pittsburgh Local Organizing Committee - which included 12 universities and sports facilities - deserves much of the credit for our success. We eagerly look forward to crowning new NCAA champions over the next six years.”
“Pittsburgh has been a great partner to the NCAA and has successfully hosted a number of high-profile championships in recent years,” John Baldwin, NCAA Director, Championships and Alliances, said. “Among other items, the success of the 2018 Fall Division II National Championships Festival in the city gives us great confidence that the inaugural Division II Basketball Festival will provide an unforgettable experience for the participating student-athletes in 2026.”
“It’s a tremendous honor for the University of Pittsburgh to be chosen as a regional host for the 2023 National Women’s Collegiate Gymnastics Championships,” University of Pittsburgh Director of Athletics Heather Lyke said. “We are excited to bring such an elite competition to the Petersen Events Center, and we look forward to welcoming passionate gymnastics fans to the City of Champions.”
“Duquesne Athletics is proud and honored to once again serve as a host for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship,” Duquesne Director of Athletics Dave Harper said. “This would not be possible without the strong partnership between VisitPITTSBURGH and SportsPITTSBURGH and PPG Paints Arena. We are truly blessed to work with all the entities involved.”
Pittsburgh was awarded the following NCAA preliminary and championship events:
2024 Division I Men’s Basketball First & Second Rounds
Duquesne University & PPG Paints Arena
2025 Division II Women’s Basketball Championship Elite Eight
Clarion University & UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse
2026 Division II Basketball Festival (Men’s & Women’s Championships)
Clarion University & UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse
2023 National Collegiate Women’s Gymnastics Regionals
University of Pittsburgh & Petersen Events Center
2022 Division III Women’s Volleyball Championship
Saint Vincent College & UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse
2023 Division II Women’s Volleyball Championship
Clarion University & UPMC Events Center
National Collegiate Women’s Bowling Regionals – 2023, 2024, 2025, 2026
Duquesne University & AMF Mt. Lebanon Lanes
The Pittsburgh Local Organizing Committee included representatives from the following six institutions and sports facilities:
As a division of VisitPITTSBURGH, SportsPITTSBURGH’s primary goal is to attract and host a wide variety of sporting events while providing planners and local stakeholders with the expertise and professionalism required to host a world-class event in the Pittsburgh region.