Fayetteville (NWAOnline.com) - League athletic directors authorized the Southeastern Conference to continue negotiations this week with six cities bidding to host the SEC Baseball Tournament, according to a report today in The Birmingham News.
The tournament has been held in Hoover, Ala., since 1998, but the city's contract with the SEC expires after next season. Hoover, Memphis, New Orleans, Jacksonville, Fla., Montgomery, Ala., and Duluth, Ga., are the six cities competing for the next five-year cycle with the league, though a multi-site rotation could be decided.
Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn said he believes the tournament will stay at Regions Park in Hoover – a Birmingham suburb – following a meeting last month with other league coaches.
"Hoover is a great set up but we need the surface to be in better shape," Van Horn said. "They play football on the field in the fall and some other things, so we need that in better shape. The dugouts and some of that area is really bad.
"We need to make some other improvements, too. My suggestion was to bring the fences in; they are way out there and it's a joke. That's fine because everybody plays the same distance. We have new bats and the ball doesn't travel, and it doesn't travel there anyway. Why not move those into the same distance as the College World Series field? I'd just like to see them upgrade some things and make it nicer."
Van Horn said he would like to see the tournament move to Autozone Park in Memphis because of its proximity.
"I'd like to move it to Memphis so our fans can travel easier, but I can't out-vote those other coaches," Van Horn said. "Memphis would be nice, but I just don't see that happening right now."
The site could be determined as soon as next month.