Official: Remain positive, no animosity against NCAA over ‘March Madness’ festival’s cancellation

Martin, president of the Oregon District Business Association, said the now canceled NCAA First Four Festival had several factors working against it:

— time

— a new NCAA team less familiar with how the festival worked last year

— the inability to use local sponsors as in the past

— complicated NCAA rules

“I don’t know if you ever saw their rule book,” Martin said. “It is huge.”

Read Emails explain First Four Festival cancellation

Despite the cancellation of the festival, which in 2012 — its event's inaugural year — helped inject millions into the local economy and drew thousands to the Historic Oregon District, Martin urged area residents to remain positive.

“We don’t want to seem unwelcoming to them,” he said. “We want to do it next year.”

The event was to kicked off “March Madness” and celebrate Dayton hosting the first round of the 2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Martin said the city and the First Four Local Organizing Committee maintain a positive relationship with the

National Collegiate Athletic Association. While there is disappointment, there is no animosity, he said.

“This is an event that is important to Dayton and the region,” Martin said. “We need to focus on the positives and look to next year and making an even bigger bang.”

Martin said several events are planned to celebrate the kickoff of March Madness. He is working with the Miami Valley Restaurant Association on Miami Valley Takes Flight, a promotion aimed at drawing visitors and NCAA officials to the Oregon District by offering ‘flights’ of beverages and foods.

While some flexibility was allowed last year for the use of some local sponsors, Martin said it is understandable that the NCAA requires the use of national sponsors.

“When you look at the big picture, it really makes sense.” he said. “It’s a national event taking place in Dayton and it is going to have to have national ties.”

The NCAA is noted for efforts to control its family-friendly image.

The festival was to land on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, a busy day in the Oregon District particularly if it falls on a weekend day.

Martin said that was not a factor in the decision to cancel the festival and officials were prepared to handle both St. Patrick and festival crowds.

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