About 100,000 people, many from out of town, are expected to attend the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships starting Thursday at Pittsburgh’s PPG Paints Arena as the emotionally charged trial of Michael Rosfeld continues a few blocks away.
At a news conference Wednesday, officials said they’re prepared to handle the demands of both events and don’t anticipate problems.
Rosfeld, a former East Pittsburgh police officer, is on trial for homicide in connection with the June 19 shooting death of Antwon Rose II, an unarmed black teen who ran from a car that Rosfeld had pulled over.
The incident sparked protests in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities for weeks after the shooting. Heightened security and traffic restrictions have been in place around the courthouse during the trial.
The wrestling tournament is expected to draw 100,000 fans and 330 competitors over three days, according to SportsPITTSBURGH, the tourism group that coordinated the city’s effort to host the championship event for the first time since 1957.
Pittsburgh Public Safety officials have been meeting daily with SportsPITTSBURGH, the NCAA and others, according to Dan Gilman, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff.
“This didn’t catch us by surprise. It’s been daily communication and partnership,” Gilman said.
The wrestling tournament continues through Saturday at PPG Paints Arena, while the NCAA Wrestling Fan Fest will be held afternoons Thursday through Saturday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
The wrestling tournament is expected to generate more than $8 million for the city, according to SportsPITTSBURGH Executive Director Jennifer Hawkins.