NCAA set to expand women’s field to 68 teams

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament Set to Expand Field to 68 Teams

The Division I Women’s Basketball Committee and the Oversight Committee voted unanimously to approve a proposal to add four teams to the NCAA tournament, starting this season. The proposal, which was announced Thursday, will now go to governance committees for consideration. A final decision is expected by the middle of next month.

“The first priority of the committee is to ensure that student-athletes participating in women’s basketball have a championship experience that is fair to that of men’s basketball,” said Nina King, Chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. Expanding the range of women’s tournaments to 68 teams would immediately ensure that male and female basketball student-athletes have an equal number of team opportunities to compete for an NCAA championship each year. “

Enlarging the teams was one of the recommendations that emerged from an external review of tournament gender issues. The report released in August was sparked by outrage over disparities between the equipment at the two tournaments, including weight rooms and other features.

Other recommendations that have already been discussed include exploring a joint Final Four with both men’s and women’s basketball tournaments that host their semi-finals and title matches in the same city on the same weekend. , although that won’t happen until at least 2027 with sites already locked down. 2026. The NCAA also endorsed the women’s tournament using the phrase March Madness in its trademark.

“It’s good. I really appreciate the work and the commitment to respond in such a quick turnaround,” said UCLA coach Cori Close, who is the president of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. madness and having four other teams competing for this experience is a big step in the right direction. “

Under the proposed 68-team format for 2022, the first-round matches of the women’s tournament would take place at four of those 16 seeded venues. It could become a neutral site from 2023 – similar to what men do.

“Today’s vote is one more step towards achieving fairness between the two tournaments,” said Lisa Campos, chair of the Division I women’s basketball oversight committee. women’s basketball is proud to continue its leadership role in reviewing many of the Gender Equity Report recommendations, and we look forward to implementing this format change to positively impact the championship experience. for women’s basketball. “

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More AP Women’s Basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/womens-college-basketball and https://twitter.com/AP—Top25

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