• Loading stock data...
Sunday, April 14, 2024
  • -
  • -
  • -
  • -

NCAA Exec Wants to Move Up Review of Women’s Tournament

  • A review of the format could take place this summer, a year ahead of schedule.
  • The women don’t play at neutral sites until the second weekend, which was an issue this year in Spokane.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Changes could be coming to women’s March Madness after a blockbuster tournament this spring.

Lynn Holzman, the NCAA executive who oversees the tournament, told ESPN Tuesday that she supports moving up a review of the women’s tournament format to this summer. The review was originally scheduled for next summer.

“Given the trajectory of success we’ve experienced over the last couple years, I see no reason to wait to start that review,” Holzman told ESPN. “The governance structure has to approve [a review], but that is our ask coming out of this championship. I believe that will take place.”

Right now, the First Four and first two rounds of the women’s tournament are played at the highest seed’s gym, and games the next weekend are split between two neutral sites. That’s different from the men’s format in which all games are in neutral territory and second-weekend games touch down in four cities.

“I think both of those topics indicate our continued intention to evolve and grow our championship in a way that creates value and also provides a great experience for our fans and student-athletes,” Holzman said on a Front Office Sports panel before the tournament.

The current format created issues in Spokane over the first weekend. The city was already a host site for the men and set to host a large youth volleyball tournament the same weekend by the time Gonzaga earned its spot as a women’s host site. Hotels were full, so the NCAA permitted Gonzaga to place teams about 30 miles away in Idaho, where Utah’s traveling party experienced racial abuse.

Another major difference between the tournaments is that the women’s Final Four is typically played in a basketball arena, while the men’s is played in a much larger football stadium. While the cozier hoops arenas are arguably a better environment for players and fans, in recent years, the relatively limited supply of women’s tickets—football stadiums typically fit double or triple the amount of people—has made women’s tickets more expensive. Holzman did not specify whether moving the tournament to a football stadium would be part of the review.

The NCAA conducted a gender equity review in 2021 after players raised awareness of the differences between the two tournaments, and the governing body has increased its spending by $14 million per year on the women’s tournament, per an NCAA spokesperson.

Holzman told ESPN that the other issues in the women’s tournament this year, such as the three-point line mismeasurement and a referee having a conflict of interest and being pulled mid-game, were not specific to the women’s side. The company putting in the court and process to vet officials are the same for both tournaments, and the budget for refs is equal since the 2021 review, she said.

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

‘Nothing Is Off the Table’: New AAC Commissioner Isn’t Afraid of the Controversial Ideas

Tim Pernetti told reporters he’s specifically interested in private equity—and didn’t rule out athlete employment or unionization models.

Deion Sanders: NFL Teams Manipulate Draft Positions

Coach Prime joined ‘Front Office Sports Today’ to discuss the state of college football.

Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer Retires With ACC Move Looming

She set the all-time coaching record with 1,216 wins.

Women’s March Madness Championship Tops Men’s for First Time

Iowa–South Carolina drew 18.9 million viewers to 14.8 million for UConn-Purdue.

Featured Today

Women’s Basketball Finally Has a TV Deal to Match the Excitement. Now What?

A lucrative new media-rights contract could rectify problems of the past, but the future of March Madness media rights is anyone’s guess.
Mar 16, 2024; Washington, D.C., USA; North Carolina State Wolfpack forward DJ Burns Jr. (30) cuts the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels for the ACC Conference Championship at Capital One Arena.
April 6, 2024

How Two College Seniors Helped DJ Burns Cash In on a Final Four Run

Two college seniors are facilitating deals for NC State’s big man.
Mar 31, 2024; Portland, OR, USA; NCAA officials measure the three point line while coaches from the Texas Longhorns and NC State Wolfpack watch with referees in the finals of the Portland Regional of the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center center.
April 1, 2024

NCAA Has No One to Blame for Latest Women’s March Madness Transgressions

NCAA is still making avoidable mistakes three years after a complete overhaul.
Nov 16, 2015; Bloomington, IN, USA; General view of the championship banners at Assembly Hall prior to the game between Austin Peay and Indiana.
March 31, 2024

How to Make It in Basketball: Become a Manager at Indiana

Inside the Hoosiers’ unglamorous, profoundly rewarding incubator for basketball’s biggest names.


Powered By

Careers in Sports

Looking for a new job? Check out these featured listings and search for openings all over the world.
Multiple - USA Careers
Multiple - USA Careers
Dunham's Sports
Multiple - USA Careers

John Calipari’s Kentucky Exit Is As Slow and Awkward As a Dog in a Stroller

Calipari steps away from Kentucky with the Arkansas deal still unofficial.
April 8, 2024

With Back-To-Back Titles, UConn Proves Basketball Is About More Than Power

Unlike in FBS football, a non-Power 5 basketball school can dominate.
April 9, 2024

Simultaneous Final Fours: An Untenable Logistical Conundrum

The women’s Final Four has gotten much too big to take place at the exact same time—in a different location—as its men’s counterpart.

Rapid Returns: How Technology Is Getting You Back to Your Seat

How Oracle’s POS technology is helping fans get back to their seats faster.
April 8, 2024

South Carolina’s Title Win Smashes Ratings Records in Caitlin Clark’s Finale

The NCAA title game became the most-watched women’s college basketball game.
April 8, 2024

NAIA Votes to Ban Transgender Athletes From Women’s Sports

Could the NCAA follow the NAIA in its transgender women ban?
April 8, 2024

If You Can’t Beat ’Em, John ’Em: Calipari Adapts to NIL Era

Jumping from Kentucky to Arkansas, one of college basketball’s foremost recruiters becomes a prominent face of the sport’s NIL era.
April 8, 2024

Amateurism Is Dying, but It’s Business As Usual at the Men’s Final Four

The story looming over everything is what no one is talking about.