The NCAA announced Friday it would continue to hold separate men's and women's Final Fours in the next round of site selections.
A united recommendation was made during a joint meeting after both the women's and men's basketball oversight committees spent several months discussing the idea of hosting both events in the same city on the same weekend.
The next round of bids for cities looking to host the event are 2027 and ’31. In the upcoming site selection process, the committees will review potential changes to the championships that would preserve the integrity of each.
Nina King, the athletic director at Duke and chair of the women's basketball committee, emphasized the importance of reviewing other recommendations centered on gender equality and pinpointing those immediate changes before attempting to add new structural layers to the women's tournament.
“We are excited about the enhancements that will already be in place for the 2022 championship and Women's Final Four in Minneapolis for fans and participating student-athletes,” King said in the statement. “Before additional modifications are made to the tournament's format and structure, it is important to us to see, for example, the effect an expanded bracket, the use of March Madness branding, and increased support from corporate partners can have on growing the women's game and the women's basketball championship.”
In August, an external review on gender equity commissioned by the NCAA highlighted major issues in the disparities between the two basketball tournaments. This became very apparent during the 2021 NCAA tournaments, as images and videos of the subpar facilities set up for the women. Hosting both Final Fours in the same city on the same weekend was among the recommendations given to the NCAA.
The 2022 women's NCAA tournament field expanded from 64 to 68 teams. The bracket for the ’22 tournament field will be revealed on Sunday, March 13.
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