NCAA statement: “Whether the tournament expands or not remains to be seen.”

  • 07/13/2023 12:07 pm in

Talk of NCAA tournament expansion has only grown louder in recent seasons.

In a release issued Thursday morning, the NCAA revealed that it talked this week about expanding the NCAA tournament field, but has not made a decision on whether to do so.

Here’s the full release from the NCAA with comments from Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s senior vice president of basketball.

The NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee spent time talking about a possible expansion of the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship during its three-day meeting this week, though expanding the 68-team field is not imminent.

The discussion followed recommendations made in January by the Division I Transformation Committee, which was formed in 2021 to identify opportunities to modernize college sports and recommend forward-thinking changes for consideration by the NCAA. One of those recommendations included accommodating 25% of a sport’s membership with championship access for sports that have at least 200 participating schools. Not including 11 schools currently in the reclassifying process from Division II, there are 351 Division I institutions that sponsor men’s basketball, translating into 19.4% of schools that make the NCAA tournament. The Association also owns the Men’s National Invitation Tournament, which features 32 teams, increasing the overall percentage to 28.5.

“The committee must be good stewards for the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship,” said Dan Gavitt, NCAA senior vice president of basketball. “They are committed to doing their due diligence looking at a few different models to make an informed decision that’s in the best interests of the championship, and that may very well include deciding against expansion.”

The last time the tournament expanded was before the 2011 championship, when the field went from 65 to 68 teams. The field went from 64 to 65 teams in 2001, marking the first time the field had expanded since it went from 53 to 64 in 1985, when there were 282 Division I schools.

“The committee and staff will continue studying options and gathering feedback from various constituents,” Gavitt said. “Whether the tournament expands or not remains to be seen.”

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