Fans or Not, Hoops in the Heartland Will Return to QCs

Feb 19, 2021

2019 MVC conference tournament champions Missouri State celebrate their victory. 
Credit submitted / Missouri Valley Conference

After last year's last-minute cancellation, the Missouri Valley Conference Women's Basketball Tournament will return to the TaxSlayer Center next month. The conference and Visit Quad Cities have announced Hoops in the Heartland will be held March 11th through the 14th.

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Credit Michelle O'Neill / WVIK News

Scott Mullen, Executive Director of the TaxSlayer Center, says the tournament will be the first event at the arena since the pandemic began.

The arena has spent around $3 million on touchless sinks and toilets in restrooms, electrostatic sprayers, UV anti-bacterial lights on the escalator handrails, plexiglass sneeze guards, and a new app for ordering concessions from your seat.

Right now, Mullen says tickets will not be sold for any of the games because only 50 fans will be allowed into the building. Each of the nine games will be treated as separate sessions, with cleaning in between.

He's working on a plan to present to Illinois health officials to show how the TaxSlayer Center could safely accommodate many more spectators.

Credit submitted / Missouri Valley Conference

Last March, players from ten teams, coaches, staff, and fans arrived in Moline, but had to turn around and go home because the NCAA tournaments were cancelled due to COVID-19.

Mullen says it's fitting for the MVC women's tournament to be the first event at the TaxSlayer Center in the past year.