ACC Venues to Serve as Host Sites in NCAA's New Tournament Format
Sept. 21, 2007
The NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee, with approval by the NCAA Division I Championships/Competition Cabinet, announced today that beginning in 2009, the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship will feature 16 predetermined first- and second-round sites with four teams assigned to each in order to enhance the student-athlete experience and attendance.
The announcement listed most of the sites for 2009 and 2010, including two within the Atlantic Coast Conference. The University of Maryland's Comcast Center, which will serve a two-year term as a first-round host for 2008 and 2009 Tournaments, has hosted the first- and second-rounds nine times (1982, 1983, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, 2005). NC State's RBC Center has been selected as one of the 2009 regional hosts. The 19,722-seat arena was also one of the eight first-round sites of the 2007 NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship.
In addition, the ACC is in the midst of a two-year stint as the host of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Championship Greensboro Regional at the Greensboro Coliseum for 2007 and 2008.
The 10-person committee spent considerable time examining and identifying operational, logistical and growth initiatives at its recent summer meeting, and had recommended the change from the current format of eight sites with eight teams, to the 16-site format, which was last used during the 2004 championship. The all-time record for first- and second-round attendance came in 2004 when 214,290 fans (6,696 average) attended 32 sessions at 16 predetermined sites.
The committee will solicit bids and select eight additional first- and second-round sites for both the 2009 and 2010 championships.
"As a coaching community we need to support the move to 16 pre-determined sites," said Charli Turner Thorne, head coach at Arizona State University and a member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Board of Directors. "This move will be a win-win for the student-athletes, coaches and fans. We anticipate larger crowds, increased excitement and better television coverage during the first and second rounds. The big winner overall will be women's basketball."
The committee also revised the bracketing principles to provide more flexibility to assign teams to sites in closer geographic proximity. The revision eliminated the principle that stated "the first three teams must be separated from a conference," but maintained that conference teams will not meet until the regional final game. All other principles will be applied while placing teams in the bracket.
"The Division I Women's Basketball Committee is committed to the growth of the game and the championship," said Judy Southard, senior associate director of athletics at Louisiana State University and chair of the NCAA Division I Women's Basketball Committee. "We will continue to work with membership groups to assess, identify and provide answers to our future growth initiatives. All of these changes will help tremendously in this regard."
The NCAA is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletic opportunities for more than 380,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 49,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA championships in Divisions I, II and III.