By Fred Liggett
A number of years ago there was a popular song called Hooked on a
Feeling and that was certainly the case Tuesday at MIAA Football Media
Day, held this year at Sporting Park.
In this case there were many MIAA conference officials and 12
football coaches who had a "Championship" feeling. For the first time in
history, the NCAA D-II Football championship game is going to be played
in Kansas City.
The Big game is set for Saturday, December 20 at Sporting Park,
the home of the Sporting KC Soccer team. MIAA Commissioner Bob Boerigter
commented, "I'm pretty excited about that.”
The MIAA has been represented in the D-II championship game the
last nine years, seven in a row by teams, the other two years by a crew
of officials. There is no reason to think the streak cannot reach 10
years in a row this season.
Defending NCAA champion Northwest Missouri State is picked to win
the MIAA this year. Pittsburg State was picked second in both coaches
and media polls, picked third by the coaches was Central Missouri, the
media chose Emporia State.
All 12 coaches spoke about the opportunity for their teams to
finish their season at Sporting Park and play for a national
UCM football coach Jim Svoboda called Sporting park "a fabulous facility." He cannot imagine a better venue.
Coach Svoboda admitted he took his team to sporting park this
past spring. Svoboda showed the team the stadium after one of their
spring practices and called the experience "a special day."
Before the Mules can think anymore about a possible championship
appearance there is the regular season which starts for them on
Thursday, September 4 at Missouri Western.
“It's third year in a row opening up with them and we lost last
two years," Svoboda said. "Everybody plays everybody and I feel good
because I have players who have been there before.”
Svoboda feels it's a good thing that team members know that they have to be ready to go, starting with game one.
Another coach present was Missouri Western coach Jerry Partridge.
Partridge called Sporting Park "a beautiful facility". Tuesday was the
first time for Partridge and his players present at Media Day to be
there. Unlike UCM coach Svoboda, Partridge has not shown his team the
facility as he does not “do gimmicky things like that."
Regarding his team's opener vs Central Missouri, Partridge feels
that an all conference schedules guarantees a good first week matchup.
Partridge does strongly encourage his players to watch Kansas City
Chiefs players in training camp that is held each year on the Missouri
Western campus in St. Joseph. Partridge feels it's good for them to see
how professional players work on and off the field to prepare themselves
for the upcoming season.
After all 12 football coaches and players addressed area media
members, Bob Boerigter commented more on hosting the championship game
“It all started when the Contract for the D-II championship game
held in Florence, Alabama was up and the MIAA conference took the lead
in the project to bring the game here, Boerigter said.
The MIAA collaborated with members of the Kansas City Sports
Commission and the Sporting Park facility. The process started inside
the MIAA offices in downtown Kansas City with Assistant commissioner
Amber Feldman overseeing all the paper work. When the NCAA came to KC
for a site visit, Sporting KC staff and Marriott Hotel representatives
were also involved in showing off the facility.
For many MIAA teams, their 2014 football season begins on
Thursday, Sept. 4, it will be a lot of fun for the coaches, players,
alumni, and area fans to follow each week to see which one of them will
end their season at Sporting Park on Saturday, Dec. 20 for a chance to
bring another national championship to the MIAA conference.