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Autumn Johnson | September 2, 2020

NCAA confident there will be a 2020-21 women's basketball season, championship

NCAA VP of Women's Basketball: 'I'm confident we will have a season, and certainly will have a championship'

NCAA Vice President of Women’s Basketball Lynn Holzman said she is “confident that we will have a season, and certainly will have a championship” as the NCAA is expected to update fans later this month on a start date for the season.

That's according to a video interview Holzman and Duke's Nina King had with's Andy Katz, which you can watch in full above. The NCAA's Dan Gavitt told Katz last month that the NCAA is expected to have news in the middle of September on a potential start date for both the men's and women's basketball seasons.

Although there is optimism for a women's basketball season and championship, there may not be an equal or normal selection process for the tournament in March. Conferences could end up playing a different number of games depending on how they handle their schedules.

“We’re not sure what this season will look like,” said King, who is the new chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee. “But of course, once we go into the committee selection room next March, we know that it’s going to be different and we’re going to have to take into account all of the factors and all of the variances — whether that’s conference-only play, non-conference, how many games. There’s going to be a lot of different variables and factors that aren’t going to look like last year or the year before, frankly.”

LATEST UPDATES: Keep up with all things college sports amidst the COVID-19 pandemic 

With this in mind, the committee will likely have to alter how it analyzes each automatic qualifier and at-large selection. Holzman stresses that maintaining "the integrity of the selection, seeding and bracketing process" will be a high priority.

“This year it’s going to be more imperative to focus on those things to ensure the committee is in the best position possible to go through that tournament selection and seeding process,” Holzman said. “So, what the committee may have focused on individually as members in the past...we’ve continued to encourage them already going in with the mindset of having an open mind, being adaptable, relying on one another and really being flexible with what they are considering, so we can maintain that level of integrity that everyone expects.”

The coronavirus pandemic has also led to much planning to ensure the safety of student-athletes. One of the main issues specifically for women’s basketball is that first and second rounds are hosted by the top 16 seeds on their respective campus sites. Men's basketball, on the other hand, has predetermined neutral sites.

The oversight committee is exploring the possibility of adding more teams but with less sites, and potentially creating "bubbles" on different campuses when students are off campus from Thanksgiving to early January.

“Knowing what's happening in different parts of our country...if we'd even have the availability to bring our championship for a couple games to a campus site begs the question as to whether for this year, for the championship, if we’re going to be able to continue with that model," Holzman said.

Here is the current schedule for the women's basketball tournament, subject to change. 

Round Dates Site Venue
Selection Show Monday, March 15 N/A N/A
First Round
(Round of 64)
Friday, March 19
Saturday, March 20
Campus sites Campus sites
Second Round
(Round of 32)
Sunday, March 21
Monday, March 22
Campus sites Campus sites
Albany Regional
(Sweet 16, Elite Eight)
TBD Albany, New York Times Union Center
Austin Regional
(Sweet 16, Elite Eight)
TBD Cedar Park, Texas H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
Cincinnati Regional
(Sweet 16, Elite Eight)
TBD Cincinnati, Ohio Cintas Center
Spokane Regional
(Sweet 16, Elite Eight)
TBD Spokane, Washington

Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena

Women's Final Four
National Championship
Friday, April 2
Sunday, April 4
San Antonio, Texas Alamodome

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