The NCAA’s exploration of an expanded Division I men’s basketball tournament has touched a nerve among some disapproving schools and conferences.
Critics, including influential Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany, are expressing concern about watering down the sport’s signature event, devaluing conference tournaments and further eroding interest in college basketball’s regular season.
Some complain that the NCAA has moved too stealthily in proposing changes to the 65-team bracket — taking it to 68 teams or more radically to 96 — and shopping them to television networks.
The NCAA is weighing whether to opt out of the final three years of its 11-year, $6 billion contract with CBS. Its decision must be made by this summer. Greg Shaheen, a senior vice president who oversees the tournament and is spearheading the NCAA deliberations, says expansion is merely one area in which it is examining all options.