The NCAA has awarded the 2016 Division II Men’s Basketball Elite Eight to the city of Frisco, Texas as part of the largest set of host site announcements in association history Wednesday. The Lone Star Conference and Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau will host the event March 23-26, 2016. The Elite Eight will take place in the state of Texas for the first time ever at Dr Pepper Arena, a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue that seats about 5,000 for basketball. “This is great news and an historic opportunity for the Lone Star Conference and its many constituents. The Division II Men’s Basketball Elite Eight is one of the NCAA’s premier events, and never before has it been played this close to home,” LSC commissioner Stan Wagnon said. “In fact, this season’s site of Evansville, Indiana, which is about 760 miles from Frisco, is the closest the event has come to us since the LSC joined Division II in the early 1980s.” “We owe a great deal of thanks to Marla Roe and LaChelle Evans with Visit Frisco, as well as Ed Reusch and Bill Herman at Dr Pepper Arena, for the organizational and planning efforts they’ve already and will continue to put forth. Certainly Frisco, Texas has become known as a great sports destination, and the Lone Star Conference looks forward to assisting in the opportunity for Division II basketball players, coaches, and fans to enjoy all that Frisco has to offer,” added Wagnon. Frisco is located 20 minutes north of downtown Dallas and is home to 8 million square feet of retail and four professional sports teams. “Frisco is very excited to partner with both the Lone Star Conference and the Dr Pepper Arena to bring this exciting championship to our city,” Frisco Convention & Visitors Bureau Executive Director Marla Roe said. “As host to the NCAA Division I Football Championship Game for the fourth year, we feel that we have proved ourselves capable of hosting successful NCAA championship events and have no doubt this one will be equally as successful!” Additional site selections included Texas Woman’s University and the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau as hosts of the 2015 and 2016 NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships at the Fort Worth Convention Center Arena in Fort Worth, Texas. The 2018 Division II Women’s Golf National Championships will be held in the Lone Star State at the Wildcat Golf Course in Houston under the guidance of Houston Baptist University and the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority. The NCAA also awarded a pair of regional championships to the LSC for the 2014-18 seasons. West Texas A&M University is set to host the Cross Country South Central Regionals in 2015 and 2016 at The Range in Canyon, Texas. “We really want to thank everyone who put in a bid,” said Mark Lewis, NCAA executive vice president of championships and alliances. “The competitiveness of the bids made it extremely difficult for the sport committees to select sites as there just weren’t spots for all of the great bids we received. Ultimately the sites that were selected will provide our student-athletes, coaches and fans the best experience possible.” The new NCAA championship bid process creates the largest host site announcement ever, spanning 82 championships across a four-year cycle. Previously, selection announcements varied by sport. This process now gives the NCAA and host sites more time to plan each championship experience. Bidding for 82 of 89 NCAA championships began in July and 1,984 bid applications were ultimately submitted. Each sport committee, per division, selected the host sites it believed would provide the ultimate experience for the respective student-athletes, resulting in 523 total championship event sites awarded. The seven championships not included in the process due to preexisting site arrangements are: Division I baseball, Division I men’s basketball, Division I football, Division I men’s and women’s golf, Division I softball and Division III women’s ice hockey. For more information on all of the NCAA championship sites awarded, log on to www.ncaa.com/site-selections. About Frisco, Texas (www.visitfrisco.com)· Frisco is located 20 minutes north of downtown Dallas and is home to 8 million square feet of retail and four professional sports teams.· Frisco annually ranks as one of the nation’s fastest growing cities with a population that now surpasses 135,000.· Gained national attention in August 2013 after announcing the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys will move their headquarters and practice facilities to a Frisco-based $115 million development that will include a 12,000-seat indoor stadium and is expected to open in 2016. About Dr Pepper Arena (www.drpepperarena.com)· Dr Pepper Arena is a multi-purpose sports and entertainment venue that seats about 5,000 for basketball and has a 2,000-vehicle parking garage on-site.· Facility serves as home of the Texas Legends of the NBA Developmental League· Facility also houses the executive offices and practice facility for the NHL’s Dallas Stars· Conveniently located adjacent to the spacious Frisco Convention Center and Embassy Suites, which is expected to be the host hotel About the LSC and Elite Eight· An LSC team has advanced to the Elite Eight 10 of past 22 seasons.· Nearby LSC members Midwestern State (2010, 2011, 2012) and Tarleton State (2005, 2006) have logged five of those appearances the past nine seasons. Both schools are located about 125 miles from Frisco.· Sites for the 10 Elite Eights when an LSC team was present have been Springfield, Mass. (1717 miles from DFW), Louisville, Ky. (857), Lakeland, Fla. (1174), Grand Forks, N.D. (1143), and Highland Heights, Ky. (955).· Other Elite Eight sites since LSC has been a Division II member include Bakersfield, Calif. (1430 miles from DFW) and Evansville, Ind. (780).· Northeastern State became the only LSC team to win the Division II Men’s Basketball National Championship in 2003.