NCAA could put both Final Fours in same city by 2027

9/30/2021 5:49:00 PM EST

The NCAA is exploring putting both the men's and women's Final Fours in the same city in future seasons, with the change not expected until 2027 at the earliest.

The idea of two Final Fours in the same city was raised as part of the NCAA's external review of gender equity issues relating to NCAA championships, and was raised as an issue by female athletes during the 2021 women's basketball tournament as players shed a light on unequal facilities and amenities.

"Finding ways to address the gender equity issues that have come to exist through the years between the Division I Women's and Men's Basketball Championships is a priority, and we are dedicated to making impactful changes," chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee Nina King said in a release. King also is the director of athletics at Duke.

The well-recognized "March Madness" marketing and branding will be used for the NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament beginning with the 2022 tournament. Additionally, a new budgeting method reportedly is being implemented for the men's and women's basketball tournaments going forward.

Some of the specific issues raised this spring included the obvious disparity between the workout facilities available for the women's teams compared to the men, and the use of the generic "Women's Basketball" logo used on the courts for the tournament instead of the familiar "March Madness."

"The joint meetings between the two (Final Four) committees have produced thorough and productive conversations," said Tom Burnett, chair of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee and commissioner of the Southland Conference. "We all want to find ways to benefit the experience of all the student-athletes, coaches and fans of NCAA college basketball.

"If both committees agree that the recommendation of having both Final Fours in the same city is the best option, we are committed to seeing that it will be executed with comprehensive planning."

The potential changes in Final Four scheduling are a direct result of recommendations made in the NCAA's gender equity report conducted by the law firm of Kaplan, Hecker & Fink LLP, which was released Aug. 3.

The 2022 women's basketball tournament will kick off March 14 with "Selection Monday" and will conclude with the Women's Final Four on April 1-3 in Minneapolis.

Men's and women's Final Four sites in the years 2027-31 are expected to be revealed in the Fall of 2022.

--Field Level Media

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