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March Madness now 90 teams?

NCAA committee recommends upping March Madness to 90 teams. The NCAA transformation committee released a final report Tuesday that, among other things, recommended the NCAA expand Division I championship fields in certain sports to ensure 25 percent of participating teams get to compete.

If adopted, the proposal would expand the men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments from 68 and 65 total teams, respectively, to about 90.

The committee has met for the past year with the objective of finding “opportunities to modernize college sports and recommend forward-looking changes for consideration by the NCAA.” It is led by Southeastern Conference commissioner Greg Sankey and Julie Cromer, athletic director at Ohio. The final report will be formally presented to the Division I board of directors before next week’s NCAA convention in San Antonio. The tournament is not growing anytime soon. According to the timeline the report lays out, the NCAA will begin its initial review this year and final recommendations would be made in January 2024. The soonest it would be implemented would be the 2024-25 academic year.

The committee’s report largely centered on athletes benefits. It wants NCAA member schools to attest that they provide life skills programming to athletes, incorporating topics ranging from mental health care and nutrition to financial literacy and name, image and likeness rights. Further recommendations include Division I schools being required to provide medical coverage to students with athletics-related injuries for at least two years past graduation, and to require schools to allow scholarship athletes who wish to return to school within 10 years of leaving to finish their degrees.

The committee also seeks a review of the requirements for what distinguishes between the football bowl and championship subdivisions, which is currently tied to attendance.

–Field Level Media


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