An NCAA Tournament With 346 Teams?
The NCAA dismissed the ACC men's basketball coaches proprosal for an expanded 2021 NCAA tournament that would include all 346 Division I teams.
Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of men's basketball, issued a statement on Thursday, saying that the organization is not planning to expand the field.
Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski led the creation of the proposal, and all 15 ACC coaches unanimously voted in support of an all-inclusive tournament on Wednesday.
The push comes in response to the potential of a conference-only for the upcoming season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Krzyzewski released a statement on the proposal.
Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes followed with his own statement on Twitter.
Louisville coach Chris Mack also shared his thoughts via social media:
FOX Sports college basketball analyst Andy Katz was skeptical on the idea but did credit ACC coaches for attempting to create an opportunity for college players.
"The NCAA tournament is about merit. You earn your way in. It is not a participation trophy. Second point – what you do for the men, you have to do for the women. To have that many D1 men’s teams and women’s teams would not be endorsed certainly during a pandemic ... No. 3, by doing that you would devalue the regular season."
Details of the tournament format have not be released, including whether all games would be played at neutral sites or rounds would be played at various campuses.
The NCAA is exploring the idea of various NBA-style "bubble" proposals with possibly fewer teams than the typical 68-school format.
NCAA president Mark Emmert elaborated on the concept last month:
"Starting with 64 teams is tough. Thirty-two, OK, maybe that's a manageable number. Sixteen, certainly manageable. But you've got to figure out those logistics. There's doubtlessly ways to make that work."
The college basketball season was slated to start on Nov. 5, but the men's and women's oversight committee voted in favor of a Nov. 25 start. That proposal will move to the Division I Council, which will meet on Sept. 16 to discuss the upcoming season.
Stay tuned for more updates.