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Women’s College Basketball Explores Changes To NCAA Tourney Format

Women’s College Basketball Explores Changes To NCAA Tourney Format

Exploration for changes in the NCAA women’s basketball is underway.

In a survey given to the conferences and obtained by the Associated Press, the women’s basketball oversight committee laid out a few potential changes that wouldn’t take place until 2019 at the earliest. The date change would put the women’s Final Four on the same weekend as the Masters.

The committee is asking the schools and conferences for feedback on several alterations, including having the opening round at 32 sites and having the second round and regionals played at the same location. Moving the Final Four would add a bye week to the tournament schedule.

“The survey has a variety of implications,” NCAA vice president for women’s basketball Anucha Browne said. “It’s an opportunity to see if the current format is where we should stay or look into doing something different. We want to talk to the practitioners on campus — the senior women’s associates, the coaches. We hope there is some feedback from the student-athletes. Student-athlete input is pretty important.”

The surveys are due next Friday, and oversight committee chair Jean Lenti Ponsetto, who is the athletic director at DePaul, said it would take time to digest the information.

Browne and Ponsetto both stressed that it would be nearly impossible for anything to change in the immediate future because regional sites and Final Four locations are already locked through 2018, including with a new Friday-Sunday setup for the Final Four in 2017.

“I think there seems to be a perspective in membership that we need to do something in women’s basketball. The championship isn’t broken and women’s basketball is in a good place,” Browne said. “We want to deliver a strong crowd and going to a Friday-Sunday format this year will be an opportunity to see how that plays out.”

Expanding to 32 teams hosting in the first round potentially could help expand interest in women’s basketball by allowing more schools to have tournament games on campus.

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