Phoenix becomes Final 4 candidate

PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix metropolitan area is one of eight finalists to host a future men's Final Four, with the NCAA expected to make the decision in November.

The Arizona Republic reports ( that a contingent of Arizona movers and shakers has been in the Dallas area since Thursday scrutinizing the inner workings of the Final Four leading up to Monday's national championship game.

"It's been really fun to watch everybody work collectively," said Dawn Rogers, a senior associate athletic director at Arizona State University who is among those spearheading the bid. "Everybody's putting on their best party dress, so it's really important to be working hand in hand."

The Final Four has never been played in Arizona and hasn't been in the West since 1995, when Seattle's Kingdome housed the event.

Potential host cities must satisfy a lengthy list of NCAA requirements, including the presence of an enclosed arena with at least 60,000 seats and adequate hotel space.

The Kingdome was imploded in 2000, leaving University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale as the only facility west of San Antonio capable of meeting the minimum-seating threshold.

The stadium has already hosted a Super Bowl and a college football national championship game.

Other cities in contention are Atlanta, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New Orleans, San Antonio, St. Louis and current host North Texas.

If the Phoenix metro area is selected, it would be awarded a Final Four to be played sometime between 2017 and 2020.

The last time the NCAA awarded Final Fours in 2008 — for the 2012-16 hosts — a bid from the Phoenix metro area was rejected.

"But we took it to heart," Rogers said. "And we're determined to be stronger and more comprehensive."

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