The First Four Festival, Dayton's traditional kickoff on Selection Sunday of the NCAA men's basketball tournament, has been canceled less than a month before the event's date.
The cancellation is the result of a recently reached agreement between the NCAA and Day-ton's Local Organizing Committee.
The NCAA is not permitting local sponsorships for public events because of "significant turnover" in its organization, according to a letter from J.P. Nauseef, LOC chairman.
"While we are disappointed there will not be a festival this year, we are excited to be on the cusp of securing the games long term, so our community may benefit from the economic development and excitement for many years to come," Nauseef states in the letter.
Mike Martin, president of the Oregon District Business Association, cited similar reasons in a letter to business owners, stating that local organizers are working with an "all-new group" at the NCAA.
"I know that you, like the rest of us, are disappointed there won't be a First Four Festival this year, but we are working on some other events in Oregon that will promote our businesses to visitors and Dayton citizens alike," Martin states in the letter.
Nauseef and Martin emphasized the activities that will be happening, including four days of games, 16 teams and 10 nationally televised games from UD Arena.
Nan Whaley, LOC and Dayton City Commission member, said the loss in economic impact from not having the festival will be minimal because the Oregon District will already be busy with St. Pat-rick's Day.
Whaley said the priority is to secure the First Four games for years to come.
"The festival was one part of the overall experience. The reason to do the festival was to get a long-term contract and we got it to 2015," she said.