It is a new year, but the NCAA is still the same old, same old, even with a new president incoming, that we all know.
The latest schadenfreude from the NCAA’s vast group of committees comes from the Transformation Committee, which, according to many on social media who had eyes on the report, recommended a few things. The most newsworthy for a blog that writes about college basketball is obvious: NCAA Tournament expansion.
The committee suggested (recommended if we are using their technical terms) that the Field of 68, which is the third and most recent expansion of the March special, be expanded to close to 90 teams. That would be a jump from about 19% of teams making the tournament to 25% (or one quarter of the Division I teams), to satisfy a benchmark for all NCAA postseason championships the committee determined.
Let’s get this out of the way: The tournament should be left alone. The current format is great, and expansion at the moment is just dumb. It would devalue conference tournaments, potentially only favor Power-5 teams. The argument is about access and more chances, but what if the tournament doesn’t need that? Leave March Madness alone.
In my humble opinion, the tournament should only be expanded to 69 teams (because MATH), or not at all. The rule that should be changed right now is gets on soapbox the D-I transition rule.
Here is the full report for anyone wanting to dive into some jargon.
Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger wrote a nice story detailing a lot more of the report so definitely give him a click.
Don’t fret. Any expansion has to go through a few rounds of voting to be even considered. The basketball oversight committee has final say. Initial review by committees will happen by June 2023 and final recommendations will take place by January 2024 for implementation in the 2024–25 championship, the report says.
Greg Sankey, the SEC commissioner, who hinted in August that the Tournament could be expanded, is on the transformation committee. Shocker.