NCAA rejects Mineapolis' bid for Final Four
The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee has selected New Orleans, Atlanta, Dallas/Arlington/Fort Worth, Indianapolis and Houston to host the Men’s Final Four in the years 2012-16.
Committee Chair and Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive said the process the group used to select the host cities was “as grueling and competitive as selecting teams for the men’s basketball championship.”
Following is the specific lineup:
• 2012 – Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, March 31 and April 2
• 2013 – Georgia Dome, Atlanta, April 6 and 8
• 2014 – Cowboys Stadium, North Texas (Arlington/Dallas/Fort Worth), April 5 and 7
• 2015 – Lucas Oil Stadium, Indianapolis, April 4 and 6
• 2016 – Reliant Stadium, Houston, April 2 and 4
The announcement brings the year-long selection process to an end, returning the Final Four to two sites (New Orleans, Atlanta) after several years, one new site (North Texas) and two cities (Indianapolis, Houston) already slated to host in the next three years.
The committee received bid proposals from 10 cities – Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, North Texas, Phoenix/Glendale, San Antonio and St. Louis, all of which were named finalists. Slive said because of the high quality of the presentations received, the committee also decided that the five cities not awarded a bid are guaranteed an opportunity to host preliminary rounds of the championship during this cycle.
New Orleans previously hosted the event in the Louisiana Superdome in 1982, 1987, 1993 and 2003, each time producing memorable Final Four moments that include heroic performances by freshmen Michael Jordan and Carmelo Anthony, as well as Keith Smart’s game-winning jumper and legendary coach Dean Smith’s last national championship. The Superdome will host its fifth Final Four in 2012.
“Our teams and fans have always had a special experience in New Orleans,” said Slive. “The city’s overall recovery efforts as well as the extensive renovations to the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina make it sensible for us to return the Final Four to New Orleans once again. We believe this award serves as another important step in the recovery process.”
Atlanta, a third city with recent experience in hosting the Final Four, was selected to host in 2013, which will be the 75th anniversary of the event. The Final Four was first held in Atlanta in 1977. The city also hosted the Final Four in 2002 and 2007 at the Georgia Dome.
“The Georgia Dome did a great job with the Final Four twice this decade, and the people in Atlanta have answered the call each time they have put on major events, including the Super Bowl and Olympics,” Slive said. “They are well-equipped to serve as host for the 75th anniversary. It will be the culmination of a season-long celebration of the wonderful history of the Final Four.”
The 2014 Final Four will take place in North Texas, with Cowboys Stadium, currently under construction, serving as the venue. It will be the second Final Four for the area. Dallas’ Reunion Arena was the site in 1986, when Louisville’s Pervis Ellison won Most Outstanding Player honors.
“When finished, the new stadium in Arlington will create a flexible ‘canvas’ for the Final Four. We think the venue offers exciting opportunities and a unique experience for everyone involved,” said Slive.
Indianapolis will host the Men’s Final Four for the seventh time. Market Square Arena was the site of the 1980 Final Four, while the RCA Dome hosted in 1991, 1997, 2000 and 2006. Recently constructed Lucas Oil Stadium, previously picked to host the 2010 Men’s Final Four, will also be the site for the 2015 event. The stadium is also slated to host a 2009 men’s regional and the 2011 and 2016 Women’s Final Fours.
“Indianapolis will be a fixture for hosting future Final Fours, and those behind the bid took nothing for granted,” Slive said.
Houston was selected to host the 2016 Men’s Final Four at Reliant Stadium. The city was previously selected to host the 2011 Final Four. It also hosted the 1971 event at the Astrodome.
“Reliant Stadium is an outstanding complex with a management group which, when combined with its transportation plan and the overall vision of the Final Four, distinguished itself in the minds of the committee. We saw an example of what Houston has to offer during the 2008 South Regional and have every reason to think that their future events will be special,” said Slive.
NCAA President Myles Brand commended the committee for its selection of sites that will host the Association’s premier event.
“These individuals are leading administrators in the profession and in addition to handling their day-to-day responsibilities, they were charged with making important decisions about the future of the Final Four,” Brand said. “When President-elect Barack Obama was asked which sporting event he would attend if he could choose just one, he said the Final Four. That speaks volumes about the growing popularity of this championship.
“That’s further illustrated in the quality of bids received and the number of new facilities that will host fans who will visit these cities. One million fans will attend the Final Four sessions in this bid cycle, including thousands of students from campuses who will be courtside for only a few dollars per game.”
NCAA Executive Vice President Tom Jernstedt, who has presided over every men’s basketball tournament since 1973, compared choosing the Final Four sites to the other selection process for which the committee is more commonly known.
“In many ways, the site selection process is very similar to selecting at-large teams for the championship,” Jernstedt said. “The basketball committee is armed with the best information available, be it about a team’s résumé in March, or a prospective city’s bid for serving as host for the Final Four. And just as there are always more quality teams than there are at-large bids available for championship selection, there were more quality hosts than there were bids to award for this process.”