The NCAA announced on Wednesday that it has made more than 450 selections of future host sites for preliminary rounds and final sites of championship venues at the Division I, II and III levels, with the majority of the selections affecting events set to be held between 2022 and 2026. Among those locations include Las Vegas, which for the first time in more than three decades will play host to an NCAA-sanctioned event in the 2023 basketball regionals.
Vegas has long been considered taboo for the NCAA, but in the spring of 2019, the NCAA agreed to allow championships to be held in Sin City, culminating with the announcement Wednesday. It's a change in policy for the NCAA, as it previously prevented states with legal wagering from hosting championships. When Vegas hosts the 2023 Men's Basketball Regional, it will be the first time since 1991 that the state of Nevada will host a predetermined NCAA championship. Nevada will also host the Men's Frozen Four in 2026.
"While the NCAA seeks federal legislation to better regulate sports wagering, particularly to safeguard college sports competitions, we are excited to bring our national championships to Las Vegas," said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball. "The city has hosted numerous championships sponsored by our member conferences, and the experience of the teams and fans has been overwhelmingly positive. We anticipate that being the case for our championships as well."
The NCAA also announced Wednesday that the University of Dayton, the host site of the NCAA Tournament's First Four since 2001, will continue to be the host site through at least 2026. The First Four games -- which are quite literally the first four games of the NCAA Tournament -- mark the commencement of March Madness. The games include eight teams vying for four spots on the main bracket.
The announcement of future host site locations is the culmination of an NCAA process that marks just the third time in its history that it undertook a site selection process, where most of its championships were put out for bid at the same time. More than 3,000 bids were submitted for preliminary rounds and finals of 86 different championships.