NCAA shoots down idea of all-inclusive basketball tournament

ACC coaches propose allowing all Division I teams to qualify for postseason
2020 March Madness logo and basketballs
Posted at 3:37 PM, Sep 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-10 15:37:52-04

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — The NCAA is shooting down the idea of an all-inclusive postseason basketball tournament in 2021.

One day after all 15 Atlantic Coast Conference men's basketball coaches voted unanimously in support of an all-inclusive NCAA tournament for the 2020-21 season, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball said Thursday there are no plans to change the tournament field.

"Every college basketball team's goal is to play in the NCAA tournament because everyone loves March Madness," Dan Gavitt said in a statement. "Certainly, we missed it this year and can't wait for 2021. 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 field."

The ACC coaches' proposal would make all 346 eligible Division I teams qualify for the tournament.

Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton released a statement Wednesday saying he has "long been a proponent" of expanding the postseason tournament.

"The idea is unprecedented," Hamilton explained. "It is an idea that is groundbreaking, forward thinking and illustrates a tremendous opportunity that we have to advance the game of college basketball. By allowing every team to participate in the tournament, concerns of playing a conference-only schedule or a so-called high RPI schedule are eliminated. Also taken out of consideration are games potentially lost to coronavirus concerns. In short, it gives every student-athlete who plays college basketball the chance of a lifetime -- playing in the NCAA tournament."

Leonard Hamilton all smiles after Florida State Seminoles win 2020 ACC regular-season championship
Florida State's head coach Leonard Hamilton celebrates with his players after their school's first-ever ACC regular-season championship after a game against Boston College, Saturday, March 7 2020, in Tallahassee, Fla. Florida State won 80-62.

According to ESPN, Gavitt has previously said the NCAA tournament will go on in 2021, even if a bubble is necessary.

"It also gives teams and players who were unable to play in the 2020 NCAA tournament because of the virus the opportunity to realize their dreams of playing on the greatest stage in sports," Hamilton said.

The NCAA hasn't made a decision on when to start the college basketball season.