KANSAS CITY, MO -- After a three-month delay because of COVID-19 restrictions, Triple Crown Sports returns to the court with the National Invitational Tournament volleyball event, slated for May 28-31 at the Kansas City Convention Center.
Tournament officials expect 325 teams in age groups ranging from 12u through 18u to attend; this is the third year that the NIT has been held in Kansas City. While team numbers were affected by the shift from President’s Day Weekend, the tournament will still welcome numerous high-achieving clubs from around the country – dozens of states are represented overall, with about 12,000 room nights filled at 30 hotels in and around downtown and the resulting boost to area restaurants and concessions.
“A large number of teams fought just as hard as we did to make this event happen, and we are grateful for the opportunity to welcome them to Kansas City for this very competitive test of skills,” said TCS Volleyball Director Jared Rudiger. “We are also pleased to get these talented student-athletes in front of college coaches again and help programs set the table for their success down the road.”
Recruiting remains a key piece of the TC NIT’s appeal; 75 coaches from the ranks of JUCO, NAIA, NCAA D-II and D-III will be on site during the event, which includes three college camps on Friday as well as an unsigned player showcase workout from 5-7 p.m. Through streaming partner MVPCAST, nearly 90 Division I schools and another 25 from the other levels have signed up to watch matches live – championship matches for every age group will conclude the event on May 31. Due to NCAA health and safety protocols, Division I coaches are not allowed in-person recruiting until June 2.
The 13u – 17u title matches will be streamed live on YouTube; calling the action will be Chuckie Kempf (PxP Broadcaster for ESPN) and Jason Tarwater (radio/video broadcaster with Park University).
Passes to watch the action are $50 for all three days, or $18 per day. Triple Crown has arranged for several conveniences for those attending the tournament including airport transportation, a parent hospitality room and concession options on the street level of the Convention Center.
New to the NIT event this year are two presentations by Geoff Carlston, former head coach of women’s volleyball at Ohio State, from his Epic Journey Leadership program. He will speak on Friday, May 28 as well as Sunday, May 30 at the Convention Center; one session each day will focus on tools for families and athletes, with the other directed at club coaches.
According to Visit KC, the hospitality and tourism agency for the Kansas City metro area, the competition will generate an estimated $6 million for the local tourism industry, a sector of the economy hit hard by the pandemic.
“From the KC Convention Center and our Downtown hotels, to our restaurants and the modern KC Streetcar, our entire community is elated to welcome Triple Crown’s athletes, officials and families back to the City of Fountains for a third year,” said Nathan Hermiston, Senior Vice President of Sales & Services for Visit KC. “We value our partnership with Triple Crown Sports and relish the opportunity to host their premier volleyball event in the Heart of America.”
Follow the schedule and other event news at triplecrownvolleyball.com or on Twitter @TCVolleyballNIT.
About Triple Crown Sports
Based in Fort Collins, CO., Triple Crown Sports has been producing youth, high school and college events for 40 years. TCS runs both the preseason and postseason WNIT basketball events and produces the men’s and women’s DI Cancun Challenge tournaments in November. Triple Crown is also powering the “WNIT” concept event in D-I volleyball (NIVC), with that event debuting in 2017. Other youth volleyball events include the West Coast Invitational (June 4-6 in Salt Lake City), with 2022 events being added in Colorado (Rumble in the Rockies, Gaylord Hotel in Aurora, CO) and Baltimore (East Coast Invitational). TC fastpitch tournaments (including the 900-team Sparkler/Fireworks event) draw the nation’s finest club programs, and hundreds of college coaches attend TCS events for recruiting purposes. TCS also produces one of the largest youth baseball events in the world with the Omaha SlumpBuster during the College World Series.