The NCAA, which has been fragmented for about 1,000 miles and decades, is hosting an eight-team, four-day, two-city college basketball tournament starting Friday.
This is always the way to the final fours. Despite all the changes after last year’s buzz on the NCAA men’s and women’s competition, do not expect that attitude to change for at least a decade.
The decision, made in the winter after a series of discussions by NCAA committees, violated a recommendation made in August by a law firm hired by the association to study its approach to championship events. But it was also in line with the long-standing reluctance of the college sports community to bring men and women events closer together geographically.
“Every coach I’ve spoken to has participated in the final four – I talked to some people after the report came out – no one said we should both be Final Force in the same place,” Geno Ariamma said. , The 14th woman to make the final four following Connecticut coach Huskies.
Women will play in Minneapolis this year, while men will compete in New Orleans.
The idea of combining the slate of sports every spring and turning a city into an emporium of college basketball has been spreading from time to time in the 40 years since the women’s tournament began.
The idea gained new currency in August when a law firm hired by the NCAA released a statement saying the association had long prioritized men’s competition and its earnings. Bringing men’s and women’s events to the same city will “ensure that the student-athlete experience at the men’s and women’s championships is very equal,” the report stressed.
That opportunity seemed a long way off for some executives, especially as the NCAA had already selected the host cities for the final four of the two matches until 2026. In February NCAA officials unanimously decided that the events should be separate in succession. The rotation of the auction to run the competition – changes are not possible until at least 2032.
However, executives said they were considering other possible changes, such as holding separate weekend tournaments that could draw greater attention to women’s basketball. For now, NCAA leaders have said they have been skeptical of improving the tradition for decades.
“At the moment, it’s important for the team to look at the results of improvements made in the championship and other investments, and to pay tribute or continue to pay homage to what has already been built around the final four of the women’s squad.