Originally created 03/02/00

NAIA considering proposals from other cities

TULSA, Okla. -- The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics is considering options for relocating its national office and men's basketball tournament.

NAIA President Steve Baker plans to meet Thursday with a group of Oklahoma City civic leaders for what he described as an exchange of ideas.

Eleven cities have shown interest in becoming home to the NAIA and its tournament, Baker said.

"There seems to be a heightened interest in the NAIA by a number of cities around the country," he said Tuesday.

The NAIA moved from Kansas City, Mo., to Tulsa seven years ago.

But the Division I basketball tournament, which begins March 14, has never drawn as many spectators in Tulsa as it did in Kansas City. The tournament last year drew about 31,000 fans, 4,000 fewer than the final year in Kansas City.

Baker said corporate support for the tournament also has declined and that prospects for improved support aren't good.

"Tulsa is our home, and this is where we prefer to be," Baker said. "We will continue to meet with people in Tulsa to try to come up with a future plan for our organization."


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