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The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio)
Holiday spirit erupted early in the office of the Greater Columbus Sports Commission yesterday as the NCAA announced sites for future championship events.
One by one, notifications rolled in that Columbus had been chosen as host city, and cheers rang from cubicles and personal offices.
"It's like Christmas morning," said Linda Logan, executive director of the commission.
Columbus was awarded nine NCAA championship events, including five finals, in eight men's and women's sports to take place from April 2015 through April 2018.
The Sports Commission partnered with Ohio State and Ohio Dominican to submit 30 bids for NCAA championships. Columbus made a previous cut as a finalist for 11 events before being selected for nine.
"We're excited about the opportunity to bring so many outstanding NCAA events to our community and institutions," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said. "It's something we strive for. The collaboration with the Sports Commission and Ohio Dominican was phenomenal."
Five of the nine events coming to Columbus are championship finals:
* Division I men's gymnastics in April 2016 at St. John Arena.
* Division I women's volleyball in December 2016 at Nationwide Arena and the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
* Rifle in March 2017 at Converse Hall and French Fieldhouse.
* Division I men's volleyball in May 2017 at St. John Arena.
* Division I women's swimming in March 2018 at McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
In addition to those NCAA finals, Columbus was chosen for four other postseason events in three sports:
* Division II women's basketball Elite Eight rounds in March 2017 in Alumni Hall at Ohio Dominican.
* Division I women's gymnastics regionals in April 2015 and April 2018 at St. John Arena.
* Division I men's lacrosse quarterfinals in May 2016 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Denison, in Granville, was chosen for the Division III women's diving regional in 2014. That bid was not sponsored by the Sports Commission.
"What makes Columbus unique is our great facilities and great institutions," Logan said. "We're not just a one-sport city. Look at the variety of sports we landed, and it shows that."
Logan said the commission customized by sport each of the individual bids submitted to the NCAA.
"Columbus doesn't have mountains or warm weather in December," Logan said. "What made the difference for us in our bids was rolling out the red carpet for the student-athletes. Where we resonated with the NCAA is in making a memorable student-athlete experience."
Serving as host to NCAA postseason events is nothing new for Ohio State, but being awarded the Division II women's basketball Elite Eight was a major coup for Ohio Dominican, a former NAIA school that became a full Division II member in July 2011.
"It gives us a great opportunity to showcase Division II-caliber athletes and Ohio Dominican as the only Division II school in the central Ohio area," athletic director Jeff Blair said.
Columbus was a finalist in the NCAA's bidding process for the Division I men's hockey Frozen Four in April 2018, but it was awarded to St. Paul, Minn.
"I thought it was going to be a long shot," Logan said.
Smith and Logan said the Sports Commission is working on a bid, due next May, for the women's basketball Final Four in 2017, '18, '19, or '20.