Final Four Live: Kansas Villanova score and analysis
Separated by about 1,000 miles and decades of fragmentation, the NCAA will host an eight-team, four-day, two-city college basketball carnival beginning Friday.
That’s how it’s always been for the Final Fours. And despite all the changes after last year’s uproar over inequalities between men’s and women’s NCAA tournaments, don’t expect that approach to change for at least a decade.
The decision, made over the winter after deliberations by a series of NCAA committees, defied a recommendation in August from a law firm the association hired to review its approach to championship events. . But it also corresponded to a long-standing reluctance within the college sports industry to geographically bring men’s and women’s events closer together.
“All the coaches I’ve spoken to have been in the Final Four – and I spoke to several after the report was released – not one said we should have both Final Fours in one place,” said Geno Auriemma. , the Connecticut coach who has the Huskies in their 14th straight Women’s Final Four.
The women will play in Minneapolis this year and the men will compete in New Orleans.
The idea of merging the roster of games and turning a single city into a college basketball emporium each spring has caught on sporadically in the 40 years since the women’s tournament began.
The idea gained momentum in August when a law firm hired by the NCAA released a report concluding that the association had long prioritized the men’s tournament and its revenue. Bringing the men’s and women’s events to the same city, according to the report, “would ensure that the experience of student-athletes at the men’s and women’s championships is more equitable.”
That prospect seemed far-fetched to some executives, particularly because the NCAA had already chosen host cities for the Final Fours of both tournaments through 2026. The February decision, which NCAA officials said was unanimous, was that the events remain separated until the next one. bidding cycle to host tournaments – making changes unlikely until at least 2032.
The executives, however, said they are considering other possible adjustments, such as holding the competitions on separate weekends, which could bring more attention to women’s basketball. For now, however, NCAA executives said they were skeptical of upending decades of tradition.
“It was important at that time for the committee to see the results of the improvements and other investments that were being made in the championship and to really honor or continue to respect what has already been built around the Women’s Final Four with the fanbase and the like,” Lynn Holzman, NCAA vice president for women’s basketball, said Wednesday.