In the midst of recent discussions regarding gender inequality in the sport of college basketball, the NCAA is exploring a possible change to the current Final Four format.
The league is currently locked in discussions about a potential merger between the Men's and Women's Final Four events that would have them take place in the same city, the NCAA announced on Thursday morning.
With both the Men's and Women's Final Four events under contract through 2026, the earliest this change could be put into motion would be 2027.
Nina King, chair of the women’s basketball committee and Duke University athletic director, addressed this ongoing effort to merge the two events.
“We are committed to continuing discussion about the concept of conducting both the Women’s and Men’s Final Fours in the same city in the next bid cycle for each of these premier NCAA Championships,” King wrote in a press release. “Finding ways to address the gender equity issues that have come to exist through the years between the Division I Women’s and Men’s Basketball Championships is a priority, and we are dedicated to making impactful changes.”
This past season, the NCAA got into some hot water when videos leaked of the lackluster weight rooms at the Women's NCAA Tournament. If it wasn't already readily apparent, this clear disparity between treatment of men's and women's student athletes was brought to the forefront of collegiate basketball discussions.
Earlier today, the NCAA made another long-awaited step in gender equality for the sport. With "March Madness" previously reserved for branding of the Men's tournament, the iconic name has now been extended to the Women's event as well.