The MCLA has, and will likely always be, a “western” league – 20 of the 32 teams in the tourney this year were west of the Mississippi. Sending all of the teams to the East Coast is rolling the dice, especially when considering the tourney has never been hosted on the more logical West Coast.
Also, travel costs will likely skyrocket from last year’s Denver numbers as teams are forced to either fly into the small, local airport or bus in from Charlotte or Atlanta.
After talking to several individuals close to the process, I believe the MCLA was willing to take this potential gamble for one primary reason: Greenville really wanted the championships. The city rolled out the welcome mat for the MCLA brass, and the selection committee members met with civic leaders, the chamber of commerce and facilities representatives during their visit. There’s something to be said for just being wanted.
Meanwhile, the San Diego bid, from all accounts, was uninspired. Denver’s facility was first class, and will likely never be matched, but there were cost concerns and a pathetic turnout (although fault for the low attendance numbers lies primarily with the MCLA). And then there was the whole tornado thing.
Since the MCLA doesn’t have the ability (at this time) to be proactive in seeking out a location and must work solely from submitted bids, Greenville might have been less of a gamble than we think. While the cities speak for themselves, there’s more to it. As mentioned before, I’m going to give the Greenvillagers the benefit of the doubt. For the most part, I’m guessing the members of the committee that selected Greenville are pretty comfortable with their decision.