NCAA Hall of Champions

The NCAA Hall of Champions, located at 700 West Washington Street beside the Central Canal of White River State Park, opened in downtown Indianapolis in 2000. Designed by architect Michael Graves, the 25,000 square foot Hall pays tribute to former NCAA greats through the years, from the earliest athletes and champions of the 1921 Track and Field events to the modern-day Water Polo and Field Hockey competition. Twenty-three sports and 88 national championships are represented in galleries of temporary and permanent exhibits. Visitors to the Hall can explore and interact with the displays, learning that it’s not just about winning the game, but about the sacrifices, the training, and the dedication required of college athletes, their coaches, and the officials. Groups of students on field trips to the Hall will gain a realistic perspective on what to expect in NCAA competition and what it takes to become a champion.

Banners, hanging from the 50-foot ceilings of the Great Hall, display the current winners of all NCAA national championships. A main attraction in the Hall of Champions is the sculpture of the Flying Wedge, symbolizing the establishment of the NCAA in 1906 after this football play was outlawed as being too dangerous. The 600-pound lifelike figures were carefully molded from wax and cast in metal in the vintage uniforms copied from an early 1900 Spaulding catalogue. A replica of the Flying Wedge, awarded for outstanding leadership and service, is one of the highest awards given by the NCAA. In addition to the numerous photographs and stories of college athletes, there are plaques of rosters and records on the Wall of Champions for every college sport.

The second floor of the Hall includes tributes to individuals for their achievements above and beyond the game itself including Jackie Robinson from UCLA, the first African American chosen for MLB and the NCAA Award of Valor to Shannon Smith, a high school student who drowned while saving the 6-year old son of Hawaii’s head coach Fred vonAppen. One of the most deserving of his place of honor is Paul Robeson, who went from humble beginnings as the child of an escaped slave and schoolteacher to become Phi Beta Kappa and valedictorian of his graduating class at Rutgers. Robeson, also named All-American in 1917 and 1918, was one of only three African Americans at the time; however, he may be better known for his superb singing voice in Porgy and Bess and the classic Old Man River. The Hall of Honor features other well-known sports figures and former student athletes, as well, such as Jack Nicklaus, Althea Gibson, and John Elway. In addition to reliving the excitement of March Madness in the Madness Theater, there’s a typical locker room theater for viewing the real life film of student athletes and famous coaches such as Bear Bryant, Pat Summit, and Knute Rockne. Sports enthusiasts can practice their skills on the old-fashioned basketball court, or find their NCAA favorites on the Wall of Champs.

In 2006, the Hall of Champions was host to the 100th birthday celebration of 100 moments in the history of the NCAA. From June through December 2007, the Hall is sponsoring an interactive exhibit of 15 different sports and science topics, and it will host the 7th annual Stay in Bounds golf open at Hawthorns Country Club in Fisher, Indiana on June 18th. Speakers at the Hall have included MVPs and quarterbacks such as Bill Rhoden, Doug Williams, and James Harris. In August of this year, the featured speaker will be Pat Williams, Senior VP from the professional basketball team, Orlando Magic. A reception honoring Tennessee State University track and field team coach Ed Temple and the Tigerbelles Olympic medallists will be held September 30 at the Hall as a part of the Circle City Classic this year.

Hours: Tuesday — Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday — 12 Noon to 5 p.m. Closed Mondays (with some exceptions). Extended hours: March 12 — April 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Memorial Day — Labor Day, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; June 20-22 — USA Track & Field Championship Days, Wednesday, Thursday, & Friday — 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Admission: Adults & Seniors – $3.00, Students – $2.00, Children under 5 — free.
(Note: The Circle of Champions community program sponsored by the Hall was established to benefit school children. Four levels of ticket purchases are available, with each donated in the name of the contributor to schools and youth organizations for children who might otherwise not be able to afford ticket prices for field trips.)
Parking: $3.00 – Underground lot garage next to the Hall. Campus gift store on premises.

Comments are closed.