After the ACC proposed that the 2021 NCAA tournament should include every single Division I team, the NCAA does not appear interested in shaking up the Big Dance.
Dan Gavitt, the NCAA senior vice president of men’s basketball, released a statement Thursday saying there are no current plans to expand the tournament field beyond 68 teams.
“Every college basketball team’s goal is to play in the NCAA tournament because everyone loves March Madness. Certainly, we missed it this year and can’t wait for 2021,” Gavitt said. “While all who care about the game are entitled to their opinion, and we’ll always listen respectfully, at this time we are not working on any contingency plan that involves expanding the tournament.”
The 2020 NCAA tournament was canceled on March 12 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. On Wednesday, the ACC proposed to expand the tournament field, Sports Illustrated‘s Pat Forde reported.
The ACC’s plan—which the conference’s coaches voted for unanimously, per Goodman—would include more than 350 teams in the 2021 NCAA tournament. The week of conference tournaments would serve as the first week of the NCAA Tournament, with the field trimmed to 64 or 68 teams in the following week. The plan for selecting and seeding at-large bids has not been announced. While the expanded tournament would ensure teams would get play following its cancelation in 2020, it would present several logistical hurdles.
The 2020-21 college basketball season is still slated to be held as scheduled, with the season kicking off on Nov. 10. Duke is set to face Michigan State in the State Farm Champions Classic, with Kansas and Kentucky finishing up the double-header in Chicago.
The first round of the 2021 NCAA tournament is currently set for March 16. The Final Four will be held at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis on April 3.