A 90-Team NCAA Tournament Is a Ridiculous Premise

Ryan Phillips
North Carolina v Kansas
North Carolina v Kansas / Tom Pennington/GettyImages

On Tuesday, the NCAA Division I transformation committee released a 22-page report recommending various changes. The most notable suggestion was expanding championship events to include more teams. As part of the proposed changes, the committee would expand NCAA basketball tournaments to as many as 90 teams. Which is absurd.

The report recommended that every sport with at least 200 schools should include 25 percent of its teams in championship events. That would lead to the NCAA men's and women's March Madness tournaments expanding dramatically. While this is in no way binding, the NCAA loves to find avenues to make more money and this would certainly be a path to doing just that.

The NCAA tournament already feels bloated with 68 teams. The expansion from 64 to 65 in 2001 and 65 to 68 in 2011 both felt awkward. The 68-team tournament still feels weird, given the necessity of play-in games. By going to 90, a chunk of teams would get byes, while others would be left out. And the whole process of seeding is so subjective it would only cause more controversy.

Part of the charm of the NCAA tournament is the exclusivity of it. Expanding it would ruin some of that feeling. The naked money grab of expansion would ruin the crown jewel of the NCAA's sports calendar. It's an absurd premise that should be dismissed out of hand.