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Oct. 1, 1997

Oklahoma City to Host '98 and '99 Big 12 Tournaments

OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. - Oklahoma City's sparkling new Ballpark in Bricktown will serve as host site for the 1998 and 1999 Big 12 Conference postseason baseball tournaments, pending formal approval by the Big 12's Council of CEOs.

Big 12 Conference Directors of Athletics and the Oklahoma City All Sports Association made the joint announcement Wednesday at a news conference in the Medallion Hotel, which will serve as tournament headquarters.

"The athletics directors were extremely pleased with the quality of bids we received from Austin, San Antonio, and, of course, Oklahoma City for the tournament," said Baylor's Tom Stanton, chair of the Big 12 Board of Athletics Directors. "The interest in these communities confirms that there is strong support for the Big 12 and intercollegiate baseball. We are looking forward to continuing and expanding the event in Oklahoma City, which has demonstrated its ability to host outstanding collegiate events over the years."

The facility, scheduled to open in Apr., 1998, has permanent seating for 13,223 with the capability to reach a capacity of 16,000. It compares with many Major League ballparks in terms of dressing facilities, fans' facility access, batting cage areas, nearby amenities, and media facilities. It will mark the second straight year for the Big 12 tournament to be held in Oklahoma City.

"We are obviously pleased with the quality of the bid put together in a joint effort by Oklahoma City, especially the All Sports Association and the Oklahoma City Red Hawks baseball organization," said Big 12 Commissioner Steven J. Hatchell. "Combining the new facility and the adjacent Bricktown area with the traditional support of this tournament, our student-athletes, coaches and fans should have an experience unlike any other collegiate tournament."

"The Big 12 is especially grateful to Austin and San Antonio for their show of support for college baseball and the Conference," he added. "Based upon their bids to secure this event, we can see the efforts to bring Big 12 baseball into all corners of the Conference are being made."

The 1998 Big 12 tourney is set for May 14-17 while dates are to be determined for the 1999 event. Last year the Big 12 postseason baseball fete drew 56,472 fans for 11 sessions to lead all conference tournaments nationally. It was the final college event at All Sports Stadium, a historic baseball landmark in the region and former home of the Class AAA Oklahoma City Red Hawks (formerly 89ers and various other nicknames). Six of the 11 baseball-playing schools in the conference compose the field for the four-day, double-elimination meet, which determines the Big 12's representative in the NCAA Regionals.

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