Bump to 96 teams in NCAA tournament considered ‘probable’

The NCAA board will address the matter when it meets April 29 in Indianapolis. Oregon State President Ed Ray, a member of the panel and chairman of the top-level Executive Committee, wouldn’t speculate on whether a decision would come then.

The NCAA is weighing expansion of the tournament in conjunction with talks with networks about a new television contract. It can opt out of the final three years of a current 11-year, $6 billion agreement with CBS, and must decide by this summer.

An expanded bracket — and 31 additional games with a move to 96 teams — would figure to bulk up rights fees. Whether it’s enough to entice the NCAA to make the jump is yet to be determined.