NCAA won’t expand men’s basketball tournament for


NCAA Basketball: Final Four-City Views

An expansion of the NCAA Tournament field “is not imminent,” according to a Thursday statement from the NCAA following a three-day meeting of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. However, a potential enlargement of the 68-team field remains on the table following a January recommendation from the Division I Transformation Committee that NCAA sports consider expanding their postseasons.

“The committee must be good stewards for the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship,” NCAA senior vice president of basketball Dan Gavitt said in a statement. “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.”

Though the NCAA Tournament field was expanded from 65 to 68 in 2011 and from 64 to 65 in 2001, the last significant expansion that truly altered the event’s shape and feel came in 1985, when it expanded from 53 teams to 64. 

“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.”

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey co-chaired the Transformation Committee, which suggested expansion in January, and he has been less-than-subtle about his interest in possible NCAA Tournament expansion. The SEC announced Thursday that Sankey has signed an extension to remain as the league’s commissioner through 2028, ensuring he will continue to have a voice in the discussion over whether the Big Dance field grows.

But it’s clear the idea of expansion faces significant hurdles, especially among the sport’s coaches. In a poll of roughly 100 Division I head coaches before the 2022-23 season, CBS Sports found that 97% favor the tournament staying in its current format.

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