DI women's basketball national championship trophy
Trevor Brown Jr. | NCAA Photos
The Division I Women’s Basketball Committee is exploring ways to reduce championship expenses while continuing to protect the student-athlete experience.

The committee recently completed its annual summer meeting, which took place June 23-25 in Tampa, Florida, site of the 2015 Women’s Final Four.

The Women’s Basketball Committee and Subcommittee on Finance provided recommendations at the meeting to more effectively manage the costs of the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, with a focus on transportation and per diem.

The championship is facing several challenges associated with limited charter airplane availability in late March, along with other rising travel costs. The committee will provide the Collegiate Commissioners Association and other member and stakeholder groups with recommendations on expense reductions in late summer to help make the championship more cost-efficient. The commissioners association is now reviewing the NCAA’s long-term financial position.

“The committee continues to look for ways to more effectively manage championship expenses,” said Carolayne Henry, outgoing chair of the DI Women’s Basketball Committee and senior associate commissioner/senior woman administrator for the Mountain West Conference.

“With recent changes in charter airplane availability directly impacting team travel, we continue to examine what makes the most economic sense,” she continued. “Finalization of these decisions will be based on accomplishing these efficiencies without sacrificing the student-athlete championship experience.”

Top 16 hosting first- and second-round games

The committee also reviewed details related to the top 16 seeds hosting first- and second-round games at the upcoming 2015 championship. Further communication will be disseminated soon from the NCAA to the Division I membership and conferences in order for them to begin reserving facilities as possible championship host sites. First-round play in 2015 will take place March 20 and 21, while second-round play will take place March 22 and 23. 

In keeping with the move to top 16 seeds hosting the first and second rounds, the committee made several adjustments to the “Principles and Procedures for Establishing the Bracket” document, as well as in games management, media coordination and other hosting details. Preliminary rounds of the championship will take place on a Friday/Sunday and Saturday/Monday schedule next season. The 2015 Women’s Final Four will be played Sunday/Tuesday, April 5 and 7 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

The committee reiterated that the neutral regional sites format, which returns in 2015, will continue going forward with a focus on a long-term strategy to identify neutral regional sites that can host in multiple years to help build fan interest at those sites. For the regional competition in 2015, a team may not be assigned to play in any arena in which it has played more than three regular-season games, not including conference post-season tournaments.

Precision timing

In another action, the committee was made aware of the upcoming use of Precision Timing and DVSport Technology by officiating crews during the 2015 championship.

Precision Timing is a mechanism that enables an official to start and stop the game clock automatically on the official's whistle.

The DVSport Replay system is based on a Touchscreen technology, allowing the replay official to view any available angle from any play at any time.  These technologies will be used by championship game officials for the first time during the 2015 tournament.

“This meeting allowed us the opportunity to dig into details of various aspects of the championship, many of which are rapidly changing as we go forward,” said Dru Hancock, senior associate commissioner of the Big 12 Conference, who will become chair of the committee on Sept. 1. “We were also able to huddle up with representatives from ESPN and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to plan for the future. Our game continues to evolve and grow, and we are readying for a great 2014-15 season and championship.”