Greenville will serve as a host for the first and second rounds of the 2017 NCAA men’s basketball tournament, the college athletics governing body announced Friday.
The tournament games came up for bid after the NCAA announced it was removing all championship tournaments from North Carolina due to HB2 – a state law regulating that persons can only use public bathrooms based on their biological sex. The NCAA Board of Governors made the decision as it concerned “civil rights protections” regarding transgendered individuals.
In all, the NCAA moved seven championships from North Carolina. Here is where those championships will be played:
The games were initially awarded to Greensboro, N.C.
“We are thrilled the NCAA has entrusted us to host one of its most celebrated championships and look forward to welcoming the student-athletes, coaches and fans of competing schools to our home next March,” said Mike Buddie, Furman University director of athletics, in a news release.
South Carolina is now able to host postseason collegiate tournaments after the NCAA lifted its ban on the state following the decision of state lawmakers to remove a Confederate battle flag from the statehouse grounds in Columbia.
“This announcement is another example of how Greenville continues to move in a forward direction,” said Beth Paul, general manager of the Bon Secours Wellness Arena. “We are honored to host such a prestigious tournament at Bon Secours Wellness Arena and will continue to uphold values of respect and inclusion for all guests and student athletes.”
The NCAA said that those who purchased tickets to the tournament games in Greensboro “will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets to the games in Greenville.”
Earlier this year, Greenville and the Bon Secours Wellness Arena were selected to host the 2017 Southeastern Conference women’s basketball tournament March 1-5.
The last time Greenville hosted the men’s basketball tournament was in 2002 when it was played at the BI-LO Center – which is now Bon Secours Wellness Arena. Before that, Columbia hosted the East Regional in 1970.