ESPN: NCAA May Mull WBB Tournament Changes this Summer

Ignatius L Hoops

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The head of the NCAA women's basketball tournament is pushing to review potential changes to the event's format this summer, a year sooner than previously planned.

The women's basketball committee was scheduled to revisit its decision to hold the first two rounds of the tournament at campus sites for highly ranked teams and to hold its second weekend games in two sites rather than four after the 2025 championships. Lynn Holzman, vice president of women's basketball, said she believes they have seen enough data about the growth of the sport to consider changes this year.

"Given the trajectory of success we've experienced over the last couple years, I see no reason to wait to start that review," Holzman told ESPN on Tuesday afternoon. "The governance structure has to approve [a review], but that is our ask coming out of this championship. I believe that will take place."

A change in format for the first rounds could potentially help avoid logistical problems such as the ones that occurred at the games hosted by Gonzaga in the first two rounds of this year's tournament. A lack of available hotel space forced multiple teams competing in Spokane, Washington, to stay more than 30 miles from the Gonzaga campus in Couer D'Alene, Idaho. While in Idaho, members of the Utah basketball team were harassed by men flying Confederate flags in their truck and yelling racist slurs.

The incident is one of several problems that have pocked an otherwise star-studded event that is on track to break viewership and attendance records for the 42-year-old tournament. Holzman said the NCAA has responded to these "serious issues" by addressing the problems as quickly as possible.

In Portland, Oregon, teams played several games with one 3-point line that was nine inches shorter than the other. A referee was replaced midway through a game between Chattanooga and NC State when the NCAA discovered the official had failed to disclose she had a master's degree from Chattanooga. And last week, Notre Dame All-American Hannah Hidalgo missed several minutes of her team's loss to Oregon State when referees forced her from the game until team trainers removed a nose ring that she had worn throughout the season and the first two rounds of the tournament.
 

Before they jump at neutral court games in the early rounds, someone should remind them that Caitlin Clark won’t be in the tournament next year. Home games fill arenas and it’s great for the tournament. Empty arenas make it look like a made for TV studio event.
 

Before they jump at neutral court games in the early rounds, someone should remind them that Caitlin Clark won’t be in the tournament next year. Home games fill arenas and it’s great for the tournament. Empty arenas make it look like a made for TV studio event.

Likewise, I'm a big fan of the top 16 hosting the first two rounds. But, obviously, preventing the Gonzaga situation must be figured in.
 


Likewise, I'm a big fan of the top 16 hosting the first two rounds. But, obviously, preventing the Gonzaga situation must be figured in.
IF the NCAA doesn’t change the hosting of the first two rounds maybe the U should hold off scheduling Williams arena during this time next year. Hate to see the Gophers earn that privilege only to lose it over other Williams hosting other obligations.
 


Before they jump at neutral court games in the early rounds, someone should remind them that Caitlin Clark won’t be in the tournament next year. Home games fill arenas and it’s great for the tournament. Empty arenas make it look like a made for TV studio event.
The media need to promote the women's game as much as the men's game. Not just during March Madness but during the season as well.
 




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