USF a finalist to host 2008 Women’s Final Four

Tampa was named one of seven finalists to host the Women’s Final Four college basketball tournament in 2008.

The event would be played in the St. Petersburg Times Forum, with the University of South Florida acting as the host school for the tournament.

“It definitely says a lot about the athletic department to even put up a bid for the Final Four,” USF women’s basketball coach Jose Fernandez said. “I think it’s an excellent opportunity to promote the program and the school.

“We’re a growing program, without a doubt.”

The committee uses four general criteria when evaluating sites: the competition venue, lodging, transportation and the commitment and ability of the host and the city to administer the championship, according to the committee’s policies.

In addition, for the Women’s Final Four, the minimum facility requirement is an attendance of at least 18,000 and the minimum hotel room requirement of 3,500.

“We’re very excited at the prospect of hosting the NCAA Women’s Final Four for the first time ever in the state of Florida, and we’ll join hands with the St. Pete Times Forum and the Convention & Visitor’s Bureaus on both sides of the bay to do everything possible to make that happen,” said USF Athletic Director Lee Roy Selmon.

“We’re convinced there’s no better area than Tampa Bay to host the women’s event.

“We are thrilled with the amount of interest in the Women’s Final Four,” said Cheryl Marra, chair of the Division I Women’s Committee and senior associate director of athletics at the University of Wisconsin.

“The number and quality of bids we received are positive signs that this event is continuing to grow as one of the premier events in intercollegiate athletics.”

The NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee also chose Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, San Antonio, San Jose and St. Louis as possible sites for the event.

Contact USF women’s basketball writer Adam Adkins at