Dayton won’t get to host First Four in 2021 as NCAA revises tournament

Neil Sullivan interview (Nov. 16, 2020)

The NCAA announced Monday it plans to play the entire NCAA tournament in one geographic area and is in preliminary talks with Indiana and Indianapolis about hosting the 68-team event.

» EARLIER COVERAGE: UD secures First Four through 2026

That means Dayton will not get to host the First Four for the second straight year. The First Four and entire tournament was cancelled in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. UD Arena was the site of the inaugural First Four when the NCAA Tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011, and it has hosted it every year since when the tournament has been played.

Indianapolis was already scheduled to host the Final Four from April 3-5. The revised tournament could be held at different sites around Indianapolis in March and April. The original plan called for the tournament to be played at 14 different sites, including Dayton.

“We have learned so much from monitoring other successful sporting events in the last several months, and it became clear it’s not feasible to manage this complex championship in so many different states with the challenges presented by the pandemic,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball, in a press release. “However, we are developing a solid plan to present a safe, responsible and fantastic March Madness tournament unlike any other we’ve experienced.”

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