The NCAA’s Transformation Committee just put forth a proposal recommending that postseason tournaments should include at least 25% of the Division I schools who participate in that sport. With now over 360 schools playing D-I basketball, the expansion to 25% would mean that over 90 teams would be in the championship field.
We should first mention that this is only a proposal. Secondly, there is much to unpack when discussing the many aspects of this proposal. Today, we will discuss the positive impacts this proposal would have on the NCAA Tournament. Check back next week when I look at the cons of expanding the field.
The Pros of Expansion
Interest | The obvious pro of expanding the field would be more teams invited to the Big Dance. The more teams in the field means that there’s more fan interest, which is good for the sport.
$ | More teams means more games, which equals even more money. Most think only of attendance at the games and TV money, but with more fans heavily invested in the tournament, there would be increased merchandise sales as well as a spike in revenue which would lead to more NCAA sponsors.
Mid-Major Spotlight | With an expanded field, a fair number of mid-majors would be added to the tournament. This would bring more attention to these schools and the under-the-radar players who don’t get the exposure that they should receive.
Money Distribution | A complaint of the current tourney setup is that the power schools get a huge chunk of the money due to having multiple bids — which only widens the gap between the power programs and the mid- and low-majors. With an expanded field, one could expect that an ample percent of non-power schools would now get a share of the large amount of money that is distributed yearly.
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LAST FOUR IN: Arizona State, Northwestern, Memphis, New Mexico
FIRST FOUR OUT: Michigan, Kentucky, Virginia Tech, Utah
NEXT FOUR OUT: Creighton, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, LSU
CONFERENCES WITH MULTIPLE BIDS
Big Ten: 11
Big 12: 8
Big East: 4