INDIANAPOLIS -- Bruce Rasmussen, who has spent the past 22 years as the director of athletics at Creighton University, has been named vice chair of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee for the 2016-17 season. Rasmussen will work alongside Michigan State Athletics Director Mark Hollis, who will serve as chair for the upcoming season, before becoming the chair for 2017-18. Rasmussen was nominated by his colleagues on the committee at last week’s annual summer meeting in Park City, Utah.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected by my peers for a leadership role on the Men’s Basketball Committee,” said Rasmussen, who recorded 196 wins as Creighton’s women’s basketball coach before moving to administration. “I have been blessed to have served with three outstanding chairs in Ron Wellman, Scott Barnes and Joe Castiglione and look forward to assisting current chair Mark Hollis. Additionally, I have served with some incredibly passionate, dedicated and talented committee members during my tenure on the committee. I have learned from each and every one of them.
“It is an incredible honor to be a part of it and see up close how meaningful it is to each of the students who are also athletes to participate in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. I never imagined that I would be able to serve the NCAA membership, our students, coaches and basketball fans as a committee member. I am excited about working with our committee, Dan Gavitt and the extremely talented and committed NCAA staff over the next two years.”Rasmussen spent 12 seasons as the women’s basketball coach at Creighton, culminating in a 28-4 season that included Western Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament championships and the Bluejays’ first NCAA tournament win. After that 1991-92 season, Rasmussen was named associate athletics director and just two years later was elevated to his current role.
A 2008 inductee into the Omaha Sports Hall of Fame and an executive director of College World Series of Omaha, Inc., Rasmussen oversees a Creighton athletics department that serves as host of the CWS, which has drawn more than 300,000 fans to the community each of the past 11 years.
“Bruce is engaged on every issue, from game operations and officiating to selections, media relations, ticketing and ancillary events,” said Dan Gavitt, the NCAA’s vice president of men’s basketball. “He has the unique perspective of having been a head coach in addition to overseeing a highly competitive athletic department, including a terrific men’s basketball program. Bruce’s willingness to be heavily involved with every discussion the committee has on a wide variety of issues demonstrates his exemplary leadership abilities.”
In addition to electing the future chair, the committee was briefed on topics discussed by the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ ad hoc group, which was formed last month to offer perspective to the committee on matters related to the selection, seeding and bracketing process. The ad hoc group made a series of recommendations on the process to the Men’s Basketball Committee. The committee openly considered each recommendation and either adopted the proposal, reaffirmed an existing principle, or agreed to study further in collaboration with the ad hoc group those concepts that had merit and common interest.
The committee decided that the overall No. 1 seed would be provided the opportunity for institutional preference in its geographic assignment to first- and second-round and regional sites. Preferences would be communicated by teams in contention for the overall No. 1 seed far in advance of Selection Sunday in a process to be determined.
The committee also reaffirmed its principle to give equal weight to conference tournament and regular-season results, and agreed to provide NABC ad hoc group members a mock selection exercise in both February for administrators and May for coaches.
The most significant and comprehensive NABC recommendations on the selection, seeding and bracketing process involved revising the analytic metrics used by the committee and prioritizing certain criteria in the principles and procedures. The basketball committee supported in concept revising the current ranking system utilized in the selection and seeding process, and will work collaboratively with select members of the NABC ad hoc group to study a potentially more effective composite ranking system for possible implementation no earlier than the 2017-18 season.
The committee also agreed in concept with the NABC recommendation, as evidenced by past practice in the process, that criteria such as quality wins, overall and non-conference strength of schedule, and road/neutral wins were primary criteria in selecting and seeding the tournament field. Further analysis and study of refining and possibly redefining those specific criteria for the future will be considered by the basketball committee and ad hoc group representatives over the next year. Finally, a longer-term discussion will be ongoing regarding the use of geography and impact of intra-conference matchup possibilities in the principles and procedures for bracketing.
“The ad hoc group includes great and experienced coaches from across the country, former members of the Men’s Basketball Committee and NABC administrators who offer valuable input,” said Gavitt. “The discussions are ongoing and the basketball committee is committed to working together with the NABC group to improve every phase of the selection, seeding and bracketing process.”
Also, the committee reviewed strategic priorities for the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship over the next five years with regard to promoting education, evolving the tournament, aligning with key stakeholders, expanding the demographics of the tournament’s fan base and creating an elevated tourney experience for teams, officials, fans, broadcast partners and the media. The group also determined it would conduct its selections meeting in New York City for a second straight year. The meeting will take place March 7-12, 2017.