According to reports from multiple national outlets, the D-I NCAA Transformation Committee has recommended multiple changes, including the expansion of some NCAA postseason tournaments.
The Transformation Committee released a 39-page report Tuesday to select media members. The report will go to the Division I board of directors for consideration at the NCAA convention in San Antonio next week, according to reports.
Page 14 of the Committee’s report includes the below transcription.
Following months of discussions by the Transformation Committee’s Championship Subgroup, informed by input from the Division I Council and the Division I Competition Oversight Committee, the Transformation Committee urges the Division I Board of Directors to thoroughly review, fully consider and, where appropriate, swiftly act on the following:
- Accommodate access for 25% of active Division I members in good standing in team sports sponsored by more than 200 schools.
- Compose all Division I championships in a manner that reflects the highest level of bracket composition and quality of competition, including seeding at least 50% of teams.
As mentioned in the Committee report’s addendum, the suggestion to the Board of Directors is that any Division I Championship team sports sponsored by more than 200 institutions include postseason access to 25 percent of active members.
Not only would the Board of Directors have to approve that move, but various championships and oversight committees would have to, as well, both from a competitive and a financial standpoint. According to the addendum, those committees would get an initial review of the recommendations by June 2023. Final recommendations must come no later than January 2024 in order for the proposed changes to be implemented for the 2024-25 season.
According to ESPN, meetings that have led to these recommendations have taken place over the past year. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Ohio University athletic director Julie Cromer lead the 21-person committee.
Immediately upon the release of Tuesday’s report, many wondered what will happen to the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. It remains to be seen what the basketball committee’s opinion on the matter would be, though some believe the NCAA’s most notable postseason tournament could remain relatively unchanged.
According to a tweet by CBS Sport’s Jon Rothstein, “there is a belief that the NCAA Tournament is viewed as different entity when it comes to potential expansion for championship tournaments.”
If both basketball tournaments would expand to meet the proposed 25 percent requirement, each would have a roughly 90-team field. That is an increase of roughly 22 teams.
The NCAA DI Men’s Basketball Tournament last expanded in 2011 when the field was moved from 65 to 68 teams. Prior to that, the field moved from 53 to 64 teams in 1984, and from 64 to 65 teams in 2001.
The NCAA DI Women’s Basketball Tournament has expanded more recently. The 2022 postseason was the first in which the field included 68 teams. The field was set at 64 teams from 1994 through 2021. The 1982 season was the first year there was a national women’s basketball tournament sponsored by the NCAA, and it consisted of 32 teams.
West Virginia’s men’s basketball team has qualified for the NCAA tournament 20 times, most recently in 2021. The women’s program has appeared in “The Dance” 13 times, with its most recent appearance also coming in 2021.