Behind the scenes of the NCCAA national championship

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March 9, 2018
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March 9, 2018

Behind the scenes of the NCCAA national championship

Taylor Wilson stretching athletes’ muscles in preparation for a game to prevent injury. Photo: Daniel Quigley

Crowds watch each game with excitement as the
NCCAA basketball championship continues. But what observers don’t see is the all hard and sometimes tedious work that goes into hosting a championship.

According to assistant athletic director Wyatt Parker, the athletic department began preparing in the summer of 2017.

Graduate assistant Kristen Baisley works in the athletic office. Baisley said she has spent between five and 10 hours a week on Nationals preparation, adding up to around 100-150 hours before Nationals will actually occur.

Jonny Gamet, The Bruins sports information director, said, “We spent weeks, months even, in preparation on certain things.”

Athletic director Neal Ring said he’s been working on the tournament since last year. Ring started preparation by submitting a bid to the NCCAA for BJU to host the tournament.

As soon as NCCAA’s national office accepted the bid, Ring  and his small army in Bruins Athletics got to work.

He began lining up hotels for teams to use as well as recruiting  sponsorships to provide financial support.

Once Nationals week began, the athletic office became a flurry of activity. The preparations began Monday morning at 7:30 a.m.

Parker calls the day’s preparation “hard preparation” due to the intensity of the work.

On Monday, the Davis Field House staff prepped the main court, hospitality area and practice courts. This preparation sounds easier than it is.

Parker heads up the DFH staff. Working with him are 11 supervisors, along with even more student workers.

Each supervisor heads up a different division: laundry, locker rooms, team’s practices, game officials, score table, game managers, skills competition, game floor cleanliness, tickets, concessions and food for the student staff.

Assistant director Kristen Baisley is one of the supervisors. She oversees the DFH student staff of about 90 workers.

In addition to overseeing the student staff, Baisley also handles ticket sales, schedules, staff training and food preparation for the staff.

“Running the tournament takes every last staff member in our department,” Baisley said.

According to Baisley at least 22 divisions of workers have contributed to  make the tournament successful.

After each game, Gamet collects game statistics and forwards them to the teams and national office. He also may write game recaps for other teams as well as the Bruins teams.

Gamet’s team of around 50 workers also does a lot during games: take stats, man the Brody team and sell tickets.

Parker, Gamet, Baisley and Ring assume managerial positions while the tournament takes place. They float around and fix anything that needs fixing.

According to Parker, “We’re here to put out fires, so to speak. We take care of things that pop up during the tournament.”

Baisley said around 200 people work during the tournament to keep things running smoothly.

After the championship game on Saturday, more work must be done.

Gamet’s team will work quickly to compile an all-tournament team; photograph the national champions; send media files to their respective schools and the NCCAA and write game recaps for online coverage.

The DFH staff will work on cleanup. As Parker likes to say, “By lunch time Monday you won’t even know the tournament was here.”