NCAA Tournament Expansion ‘Probable’

Big Ten commissioner says 2011 expansion is likely.

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Because the NCAA is all about ruining a good thing (in Paper Trail's humble opinion), it seems as if the NCAA Tournament is headed for expansion. Yes, the marvelous three-weekend event that warms our hearts, fills our minds, and slashes our production seems to be headed toward some form of growth and extension.

Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany says the famed tournament's bloating from 65 to 96 teams is "probable," USA Today reports. With the push to expand gaining some serious steam, the tournament field—and its schedule—will drastically change.

The NCAA plans to discuss the matter in late April. The NCAA has an 11-year, $6 billion television contract with CBS, but an opt-out clause allows the NCAA to explore its options and possibly break the deal. With networks like ESPN and others happy to show the approximately 7,000 games that would come out of expansion, it makes financial sense for the NCAA to expand.

Oregon State University President Ed Ray, who is on the committee that will discuss expansion, wasn't as eager to address expansion's likelihood.

"Conventional wisdom must be that it's not impossible. Otherwise, I don't know why we'd have it scheduled for discussion," Ray tells the USA Today. "But I have absolutely no sense (of) whether it's probable or not."

[See our March Madness coverage.]

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