Ohio congressional delegation wants more of the First Four

The floor, backboards and hoops were ready for the NCAA First Four games at UD Arena in March 2017. FILE
The floor, backboards and hoops were ready for the NCAA First Four games at UD Arena in March 2017. FILE

Four more years of the First Four?

A slice of Ohio’s congressional delegation is pulling for it.

On Thursday, several Ohio representatives, including Mike Turner, R-Dayton, and Warren Davidson, R-Troy, joined Ohio senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown to urge the NCAA to make the University of Dayton host of the the First Four NCAA games in the years 2023, 2024, 2025 and 2026.

“The Dayton region has hosted the First Four every year since the games began in 2011,” the lawmakers wrote. “Before that, opening-round games were played in Dayton during the previous decade. The First Four games have routinely filled the University of Dayton Arena to capacity and the games have attracted praise and national media attention. No state in the nation has fans more passionate and leaders more dedicated to making the games a success than Ohio.”

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U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Cincinnati, and six other Ohio members of Congress signed the letter to the NCAA Division 1 men’s basketball committee in Indianapolis.

The letter also supports UD’s application to host first- and second-round games in the NCAA men’s tournament.

Since opening its doors in 1969, UD Arena has hosted 123 NCAA tournament games, more than any other venue in the country, noted a press release announcing the letter.

According to the Dayton Development Coalition, from 2001 until today, the tournament delivered an estimated $85 million in direct economic impact to the Dayton region.

“We are honored to have hosted the First Four, and grateful to the NCAA for the opportunity,” the letter states. “The University of Dayton and community leaders remain committed to supporting the First Four through efforts that embody the spirit of the tournament and the enthusiasm of its fans.”