NCAA expands women's basketball tournament to 68 teams

The NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament will expand its field to 68 teams starting this season, the association said on Wednes...


The NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament will expand its field to 68 teams starting this season, the association said on Wednesday, about three months after the investigators concluded that university sports executives had long prioritized men’s competition.

The ruling represents the association’s latest effort to atone – and go beyond – for a self-inflicted debacle this year, when the NCAA was sentenced for disparities in amenities between his Division I men’s and women’s basketball tournaments.

Although the NCAA has agreed to make some changes in recent months, such as the use of its Brand March Madness for the women’s tournament, the expansion of the women’s tournament will directly affect the course of the competition and the experiences of players and coaches.

The women’s tournament had used a slice of 64 teams since 1994; the men’s tournament expanded to 68 teams in 2011.

“This action corrects an inequity that has existed between the men’s and women’s championships for a decade and provides fair playoff participation opportunities for Division I men’s and women’s basketball student-athletes,” said Danielle Donehew, Executive Director of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. in a statement released by the NCAA “We are making progress in our efforts to address gender inequalities in our sport, but there is still a long way to go. “

The NCAA has said it will host the new women’s tournament first round games on college campuses in 2022, but move them to a neutral site from 2023, as will the tournament’s ‘first four’ matches. masculine were played in Dayton, Ohio. The women’s first round matches will feature the teams ranked 65th to 68th and the bottom four overall teams.

In a report released in August, an outside law firm hired by the NCAA attributed the lack of expansion of the women’s tournament in part to the association’s organizational structure. But he also said the growth of the men’s tournament was in part geared towards “maximizing the value of men’s broadcast rights,” dollars that are the financial lifeblood of the association.

TV rights to the men’s tournament were worth more than $ 850 million this year and accounted for the vast majority of the association’s anticipated revenue. Although media consultants believe the women’s tournament could bring in over $ 100 million per year in the coming years, the competition is currently part of a 14-year $ 500 million package that includes many other events. of the NCAA.

There had also been, the report notes, “no historic consensus” on whether the expansion would benefit women’s football, in large part due to the long-standing lack of support. parity. But the report urged the association to quickly expand the tournament and said investigators believed most of the people around the sport had come to support more competition.

“Considering the roughly equal number of men’s and women’s basketball teams in Division I, there is no justification for the disparity in tournament participation opportunities,” the report said.

The 2022 women’s tournament is scheduled to start on March 16, three days after the selection broadcast. The national championship is scheduled to be played in Minneapolis on April 3.

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Newsrust - US Top News: NCAA expands women's basketball tournament to 68 teams
NCAA expands women's basketball tournament to 68 teams
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