NCAA Vice President for Competition and Membership Ed Cooley says the NCAA needs a gender-neutral option for the men’s basketball tournament.
In an interview with Al Jazeera, Cooley said the NCAA will need to consider making the men of the men a non-conference opponent for a women’s tournament in 2021.
“The answer is no,” Cooley told Al Jazeera.
“We need to take a step back and look at the women’s experience.”
It’s going to be hard to make a change without having to change the whole process.
“But we have to consider this for 2021.
I don’t know if we can make it happen.
There is a process.
It takes time.”
The NCAA began discussing the possibility of making the tournament non-contact in the fall, but the process of adding a women and men’s teams has been delayed.
Cooley and the board of directors of the Big Ten Conference, the NCAA’s regional governing body, will meet in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
“I think we have a really good chance of having the changes happen in 2021,” Cooney said.
The Big Ten has already made changes to its tournament format and is working with the NCAA to ensure it remains a nonconference event.
The Big Ten, which has a reputation for being gender neutral, is currently working with its membership to develop gender neutral rules for the women and women’s basketball tournaments.