COLUMBUS, OH - MARCH 20: The West Virginia Mountaineers huddle at mid court before their game against the Buffalo Bulls during the second round of the 2015 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Nationwide Arena on March 20, 2015 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Dayton Daily News
Dayton and Columbus, Ohio, could contend for NCAA championship events that were pulled from North Carolina this week because of the cumulative actions taken by the state concerning civil rights protections.
Officials from the University of Dayton and the Greater Columbus Sports Commission told the Dayton Daily News they have interest in hosting the events, which include first- and second-round men's basketball tournament games in March as well as the Women's College Cup soccer tournament in December.
"We have let them know we are available and would be happy to help them out," University of Dayton athletics spokesman Doug Hauschild said in an email. "We believe their intention is to relocate to sites as close as they can to the original ones for fans who have already purchased tickets."
The University of Dayton Arena is already set to host the First Four to open the basketball tournament, as it has done every year since 2001.
Ohio State and the city of Columbus have also become frequent hosts of various NCAA events and could add to their impressive docket in the coming years.
"We have viewed the information provided by the NCAA today regarding the process by which replacement sites will be selected for 2016-17 championships and are determining, with our partners, if we have the availability to host any of these championships," Greater Columbus Sports Commission director of marketing and communications Bruce Wimbish said in an email. "There will be a two-week time frame to submit new bids with the decisions to be made in early October."
Ohio State is already set to host multiple NCAA events this academic year, including the Division I women's volleyball championship in December and the men's volleyball championship in March.
The women's basketball Final Four will be hosted in Columbus in the spring of 2018.
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, announced that he sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert about Ohio's potential to host the orphaned events.
"Ohio has been a consistent partner in hosting NCAA sporting events," Brown wrote. "As you weigh options for relocation, I urge you to give Ohio's cities your full consideration. Your organization would be hard-pressed to find a better partner, and I know Ohioans would embrace these events with open arms."