PIKEVILLE, Ky. -- The Mid-South Conference has entered an agreement with the City of Pikeville, the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center and the University of Pikeville to bring the MSC Basketball and Cheerleading Championships to Pikeville over the next five years.
The Mid-South Conference Men and Women's Basketball Tournaments will be played at the Expo Center while the MSC Cheerleading Championships will be contested on the UPIKE campus beginning this February and March.
"The Mid-South Conference is pleased to announce this partnership with the Pikeville community to host our basketball and cheerleading championships in 2018 and beyond," MSC Commissioner Eric Ward said. " We were all saddened to learn recently that the Frankfort Convention Center was to be demolished and we were suddenly without a home for what we consider to be our flagship championship event.
"Luckily, the University of Pikeville stepped up and rallied community support to bring the event to Pikeville for the foreseeable future."
The Expo Center served as the host venue during the 2006 and 2008 basketball championships. UPIKE hosted the cheerleading championships in 2006, 2008, and 2014.
Cindy Collins, General Manager for the East Kentucky Expo Center, said that the Mid-South Conference's move to Pikeville was a total team effort.
"We are very proud and excited to be chosen as the host site," Collins said. "Everyone involved, including the University of Pikeville, the 15th Region Tournament, and our local hotel partners played an intricate part of bringing Mid-South Conference basketball and cheerleading to Pikeville."
The Mid-South Conference and the 15th Region Tournament Basketball Tournaments will share the Expo Center court during their respective tournaments to turn Eastern Kentucky into a round-ball mecca.
"We are thrilled to have the Mid-South Conference and the 15th Region Tournament -- which has called the Expo Center home for the last 13 years -- play alongside one another," Collins said. "These great championships will have an immeasurable economic impact on the City of Pikeville and surrounding areas."
The City of Pikeville Manager Philip Elswick echoes Collins' sentiment.
"We're excited to host the basketball tournaments and cheerleading championships and we welcome the Mid-South Conference to Pikeville," Elswick said. "This provides a tremendous opportunity for teams and visitors to experience the hospitality of our residents, hotels, restaurants, and local merchants. We hope they enjoy the beauty of our region and all of the events and attractions we have to offer."
University of Pikeville President Dr. Burton Webb says that the visitors coming to the region will not only enjoy terrific collegiate athletics but will also see what makes Eastern Kentucky so special.
"The Mid-South Conference Basketball Tournament and Cheerleading Championship will bring thousands of people into the heart of Appalachia," Webb said. "We believe this will be an excellent opportunity to showcase the fact that Pikeville is a thriving community with a tremendous vision for the future."
All three championships are scheduled to be contested during the first weekend in March.
"When a window closes, another door opens, and we couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to host these events in Pikeville," Ward said. "The Expo Center is a fantastic facility and the downtown area will be an exciting environment for our student-athletes, coaches, and fans. The University of Pikeville will do an excellent job hosting our Cheerleading Championship on their campus.
"We are very confident that Pikeville will offer our student-athletes, coaches, and fans an outstanding and memorable postseason experience."