Late last week, NCAA Senior Vice President of Basketball Dan Gavitt announced that the tournament expansion negotiations resumed. The committee is currently considering possible expansion, but Gavitt wanted everyone to know that nothing is imminent regarding expansion yet. The next time the NCAA Tournament committee meets will be in late October and new committee chairman Charles McClelland, who is the SWAC commissioner, will be tasked with reigniting that discussion.
Why was there suddenly talk of a possible expansion of the NCAA tournament? I say don’t fix what isn’t broken. Well, the NCAA Tournament committee may not have much of a choice in the matter. In January, another committee, the Transformation Committee, released a report with a series of recommendations aimed at improving college sports. One thing was to allow 25% of sports teams with at least 200 participants to compete for the national championship. College Basketball had 363 eligible teams last season. If they want to use the 25% rule for the NCAA Tournament, that means 91 teams would have to participate to meet that requirement.
Many college basketball coaches and fans have strong opinions on this topic. We all knew that expansion would eventually happen because there was simply too much money to be made. I worry about the low and mid tier teams because I feel like this is a way to ensure they are less represented in a bigger tournament. I have strong opinions on this subject. My thoughts and those of other basketball fans and writers will be reflected below. I haven’t been able to get in touch with any coaches to interview them, but they’ve all had strong opinions on this in the past.
I have provided you with an unbiased perspective on the opinions of many writers and fans as well as the opinions of coaches. My own thoughts will also be included. Tournament expansion will be a hot topic forever and while it’s inevitable that the NCAA Tournament will eventually expand, it doesn’t seem like the best time, especially after what we all just witnessed in March. I have tried to make sense of each opinion in the paragraphs below. As you read this, keep in mind that the expansion is not imminent and therefore nothing has happened yet. Currently, the tournament still has 68 teams with 32 automatic bids for conference tournament winners.