South Carolina will not bid on a 2017 NCAA men’s basketball regional, the school announced on Wednesday.
The school cited lack of full-service hotel properties for the dates (March 17-19) as the reason for not submitting a bid. That was confirmed by Scott Powers, executive director for Columbia Regional Sports Council.
“When you’re talking eight teams plus the NCAA officials, everybody needs a full-service hotel,” Powers said. “It was a catch-22. The NCAA requires meeting space, food, a lot of specific requirements.
“If it was one hotel, we may have gone that route to see if that was something. But it was the majority of them.”
Columbia, USC and Colonial Life Arena were interested in hosting the 2017 men’s regional, which the NCAA yanked out of Greensboro, N.C., last week in response to the state’s HB2 law. Ultimately, the short turnaround wasn’t feasible for Columbia to meet all of the NCAA requirements.
Despite the loss, good news was twofold. First, the 2017 non-submission won’t affect Columbia’s bid for a men’s regional from 2019-22. “The hotels in town already have those dates blocked off,” Powers said. “They will keep those blocked.”
Second, the USC women’s team will be able to host the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament in March, should it earn it. The Gamecocks, the nation’s leader in attendance last season, have hosted two straight NCAA first and second rounds and will enter this year as a heavy favorite to host a third.
“Colonial Life Arena, the University of South Carolina and Columbia would be a tremendous host for the NCAA (men’s) first and second rounds,” Director of Athletics Ray Tanner said in a statement. “However, the short turnaround time of hosting the event in 2017 made it difficult to secure available full-service hotel properties to have the NCAA tournament here. We look forward to hosting the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in the future.”
Greenville, Furman and Bon Secours Wellness Arena have submitted a bid for the 2017 tournament. If the bid is accepted on Oct. 7, “The Well” will host the SEC women’s tournament and the NCAA men’s tournament in the same year.
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