Expanding March Madness? Greg Sankey reportedly raises idea of 'fresh look' at 68-team field
Greg Sankey is regularly asked about expanding the College Football Playoff field, but this week he raised the idea of expanding the NCAA Tournament in men’s basketball from 68 teams.
Sankey told Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated that he doesn’t want to exclude small school champions, and Sankey stresses that he said the tourney “could” change, not that it would. But the suspicion among some mid-major and low-major programs is that their automatic bids would instead be given to more teams from the rich and powerful multi-bid leagues.
Sankey used an SEC example to illustrate his point. He recalled the 2022 College World Series baseball tournament, which was won by Mississippi State, and the Bulldogs were the last team in the field.
“If the last team in can win the national championship, and they’re in the 30s or 40s from an RPI or [NCAA] NET standpoint, is our current approach supporting national championship competition?” Sankey asks. “I think there’s health in that conversation. That doesn’t exclude people. It goes to: How do we include people in these annual national celebrations that lead to a national champion?”
Sankey made sure to include the small school programs because there’s growing concern that they would be left out of March Madness. Some of that comes from comments Sankey reportedly made to members of the Division I Council earlier this summer about the NCAA tournament looking different in the future.