OHIO – With college basketball’s biggest tournament just around the corner, Ohio’s U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and J.D. Vance, alongside Representatives Mike Turner and Warren Davidson, are advocating for continued March Madness presence in Dayton. They urge the NCAA to maintain the “First Four” play-in games at the University of Dayton and expand to host First and Second Rounds in 2027 and 2028.
“For more than twenty years, March Madness has had its tip-off in Dayton, Ohio. During this time, Dayton has hosted the ‘First Four’ or play-in games of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament. As members of Ohio’s Congressional delegation, we offer our strong support of the University of Dayton’s application to continue that tradition,” wrote the lawmakers.
A Longstanding Tradition:
For over two decades, the University of Dayton Arena (UD Arena) has proudly kicked off March Madness with the “First Four.” This legacy isn’t lost on the lawmakers, who expressed their strong support for the university’s bid to maintain this tradition.
More Than Just Games:
Their letter highlights the unique atmosphere Dayton brings to the tournament. UD Arena boasts a passionate fanbase, ranking 21st nationally in average attendance despite being a “mid-major” conference team. This passion translates to the “First Four,” with nearly 25,000 fans packing the arena for two nights last year.
A Proven Track Record:
Dayton’s history with the NCAA tournament goes back even further, hosting over 130 men’s tournament games since 1970. It even hosted the first two rounds in 2001, 2006, 2009, and 2013, proving its capability and experience.
Dayton’s accessibility with three international airports within 100 miles and its proximity to major population centers make it a convenient choice. Additionally, the partnership with Wright-Patterson Air Force Base adds a unique dimension, bringing STEM learning experiences and halftime activities for local students.
The letter emphasizes the unparalleled energy and dedication of Ohio sports fans. Dayton is described as having a crowd that’s “loud, energetic, and ready to erupt,” creating an unforgettable atmosphere for players and fans alike.
A Call to Action:
The lawmakers conclude by urging the NCAA committee to not only preserve Dayton’s “First Four” tradition but also grant them the opportunity to host First and Second Rounds in 2027 and 2028.
Beyond this summary, you can find the full letter from the lawmakers by clicking the provided link. To read the full letter, see below or HERE.