Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark says league's coaches are in favor of NCAA Tournament expansion


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SCOTTSDALE, Arizona – Count the Big 12 as another advocate for NCAA Tournament expansion. League commissioner Brett Yormark says the conference’s 16 coaches are unified in favor of expanding the tournament field.

“I think, in theory, they’re for expansion,” Yormark said Wednesday afternoon following the Big 12’s annual spring meetings. “But what does that number look like? The devil is in the details.”

In March, ESPN reported discussions were underway to expand the current 68-team bracket to as many as 80. A 76-team tournament has emerged as a popular model among many of the sport‘s power brokers.

“I haven’t thought about the number but I’m open to 76,” Yormark said.

Calls for expansion were sparked by the largest round of realignment in college sports history over the last two years, which included the demise of the Pac-12 as the only major conference on the West Coast. Four power conferences — the ACC, SEC, Big 12 and Big Ten — will all add members in 2024.

“We are giving away highly competitive opportunities for automatic qualifiers [from smaller leagues], and I think that pressure is going to rise as we have more competitive basketball leagues at the top end because of expansion,”  SEC commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN in March. 

Conference commissioners across the sport are scheduled to meet with NCAA president Charlie Baker in the near future to discuss the idea further, Yormark said.

“The tournament is one of the greatest spectacles in sports,” Yormark said. “It captivates hardcore fans and casual fans for all the right reasons, and you don’t want to mess with something that’s great, but if there are chances and opportunities to modify a little bit, to maybe provide more access, to amplify the experience, to look at it slightly differently, we owe it to ourselves to do that. I’m a firm believer that from time to time, you’ve got to put things through an audit. As great as they might look, it makes sense to do that and go through that exercise.”





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