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Greg Johnson | | September 30, 2021

Exploration of combined men’s and women’s Final Fours begins

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The Division I Women's and Men's Basketball Committees during joint virtual meetings the past two months have begun exploring the possibility of holding both Final Fours in the same city in the future.

That was one of the recommendations from a comprehensive external review of gender equity issues in connection with NCAA Championships, including issues that arose during the 2021 Division I Men's and Women's Basketball Championships.

While no final decision was made on combining the Final Fours, both committees voted unanimously that, if the decision was made to have both Final Fours in the same city, the earliest it could occur is 2027. Members of both committees, who will continue to meet jointly to discuss this topic, will spend time exploring ways to develop an overarching goal of a combined championship that boosts student-athlete experience and fan and stakeholder engagement.

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Both committees also feel that asking a host city to lose an opportunity to conduct a Final Four that they have committed to would not be in the best interest of either of the Division I basketball championships. 

For example, the 2023 Women's Final Four in Dallas is scheduled to be a celebration of women's basketball that will include the Division II and Division III national championship games being played Saturday, between the Division I semifinals Friday and the national title game Sunday. 

Both Men's and Women's Final Fours have contracted hosts through 2026.

Future Women's Final Four sites are:

  • 2022 — Minneapolis.
  • 2023 — Dallas.
  • 2024 — Cleveland.
  • 2025 — Tampa Bay, Florida.
  • 2026 — Phoenix.

Future Men's Final Four sites are:

  • 2022 — New Orleans.
  • 2023 — Houston.
  • 2024 — Phoenix.
  • 2025 — San Antonio.
  • 2026 — Indianapolis.

"We are committed to continuing discussion about the concept of conducting both the Women's and Men's Final Fours in the same city in the next bid cycle for each of these premier NCAA Championships," said Nina King, chair of the Division I Women's Basketball Committee and director of athletics at Duke. "Finding ways to address the gender equity issues that have come to exist through the years between the Division I Women's and Men's Basketball Championships is a priority, and we are dedicated to making impactful changes."

Tom Burnett, chair of the Division I Men's Basketball Committee and commissioner of the Southland Conference, added: "The joint meetings between the two committees have produced thorough and productive conversations. We all want to find ways to benefit the experience of all the student-athletes, coaches and fans of NCAA college basketball. If both committees agree that the recommendation of having both Final Fours in the same city is the best option, we are committed to seeing that it will be executed with comprehensive planning."

The awarding of the sites for the 2027-31 Men's and Women's Final Fours is scheduled to be announced in the fall of 2022.

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