A day after ACC coaches proposed the expansion of the 2021 NCAA tournament that would include all eligible Divison I teams, the NCAA has offered a response.
In a statement released early Thursday, NCAA Senior VP Dan Gavitt said the NCAA is not considering an expansion of the tournament for next season.
“Every college basketball team’s goal is to play in the NCAA tournament because everyone loves March Madness,” Gavitt said in a statement. “Certainly we missed it this year and can’t wait for 2021. While all who care about the game are entitled to their opinions, and we’ll always listen respectfully, at this time we are not working on any contingency plan that involves expanding the tournament field.”
The NCAA Division I council is expected to vote on a proposal next week that would set a Nov. 25 start date for the 2020-21 regular season. The current start date for the 2020-21 season in Nov. 10.
Last month, Gavitt released the following information regarding plans for the 2020-21 season.
“As we prepare for the 2020-21 college basketball season, we have exercised patience and discipline in monitoring the effects of COVID-19 and making decisions regarding the season,” Gavitt said in a statement. “We have learned a great deal over the course of the summer, and with health and safety being our priority, we have developed and studied contingency plans for alternatives to the scheduled Nov. 10 start date.
“In the coming weeks, the NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Basketball Oversight Committees will take the lead with me in a collaborative process of finalizing any recommendations for consideration by the NCAA Division I Council for the start of the college basketball season. By mid-September, we will provide direction about whether the season and practice start on time or a short-term delay is necessitated by the ongoing pandemic.
“We recognize that we are living and operating in an uncertain time, and it is likely that mid-September will be just the first milestone for many important decisions pertaining to the regular season and the NCAA basketball championships. While circumstances may warrant flexibility resulting in a different and perhaps imperfect season, the ultimate goal is to safely provide student-athletes and teams with a great college basketball experience.”
Filed to: 2021 NCAA tournament