UC Santa Barbara could host an NCAA regional at Las Vegas Ballpark, potentially giving the new home of the Las Vegas Aviators (Class AAA; Pacific Coast League) a major college baseball event.
The brand-new, $150 million Las Vegas Ballpark is being eyed for a college baseball regional, as D1Baseball.com first reported the possibility of UC Santa Barbara hosting a regional there. Discussions have since been confirmed by Aviators president Don Logan, though nothing is official at this point.
The NCAA is expected to finalize regional sites on Sunday. Should plans for Las Vegas Ballpark move forward, the regional there would begin May 31 and run through at least June 2, extending to June 3 if necessary. Notably, it would be the first time a championship event is staged in the Las Vegas area since the NCAA lifted a ban that prevented states with legalized sports betting from hosting championship events. More from the Las Vegas Review-Journal:
D1Baseball.com reported the possibility, and Aviators president Don Logan confirmed that discussions have taken place. UC Santa Barbara officials would not comment Wednesday.
The Gauchos have an RPI ranking of No. 11, but their stadium doesn’t have lights for a four-team tournament, an NCAA requirement. They have looked elsewhere, including at minor league parks in Southern California, but the logistics appear to work best in Las Vegas.
UC Santa Barbara last served as a regional host in 2015 in Lake Elsinore, California, which is about 175 miles from the school’s campus….
Las Vegas previously has hosted two championship events. With UNLV as the host school, NCAA women’s basketball regionals were played in Las Vegas in 1989 and 1990, before the NCAA in 2009 banned championship events in states with legalized sports betting. The NCAA lifted that ban this month after the Supreme Court in 2018 overturned a federal ban on sports gambling, leaving the decision to states.
Las Vegas Ballpark is located over five hours from UC Santa Barbara’s campus, so it is a considerable distance from the university. However, hosting a regional there would give UC Santa Barbara a showcase at one of the newest facilities in professional baseball, while providing Las Vegas Ballpark with its highest profile non-Aviators event to date.