Over the summer, the NCAA Division I women’s basketball championship committee convened to discuss possible overhauls to the women's tournament in an effort to make the game more appealing to a wider audience. One of those changes: moving the dates of the NCAA Final Four to a Friday-Sunday format (it's currently Sunday-Tuesday) could happen as soon as 2015.
The committee made a formal recommendation during meetings this week in Indianapolis, writes the Hartford Courant's John Altavilla. If it's approved by the Division I Championship/Sports Management Cabinet -- which is expected to happen -- then the schedule changes becomes official.
The change would mean that while the women's Final Four still takes place the same weekend as the men's tournament, the women's final would be on Sunday -- the day before the mens' final -- instead of Tuesday when the excitement of the men's game is a fading memory.
“The atmosphere on the Final Four weekend is something we can continue to capitalize on. As we grow, we can look to see if we want to be a stand-alone entity. For now, we want to take advantage of the excitement around basketball that takes place on that weekend.” said Carolayne Henry, the committee chair and senior associate commissioner/senior woman administrator for the Mountain West Conference.
The committee also decided to allow top-16 seeds to serve as tourney hosts over the first weekend in the hopes that it will draw more fans to the games.
“We feel this will give teams incentive to get better so they can host,” Henry said. “It was a challenging and difficult discussion for the committee. We know there are teams that would like to host, but they may not necessarily be in the top 16. We love having fans of teams, and the next step is attracting people who are fans of the game that will come to the arena because they want to see a good game.”