Norfolk State Robert Jones March Madness

Will NCAA changes mean more HBCUs in March Madness?

The NCAA has a proposal on the table that would increase the number of March Madness spots. Will it include HBCUs?

The future of Division I athletics — including nearly two dozen HBCUs — is one step closer to getting a little bit clearer, which may include an increase in March Madness spots. 

The NCAA transformation committee has submitted its reform recommendations to the Division I Board of Directors.

Per The Athletic, here are three key points:

  • The Transformation Committee is recommending that D-I team sports sponsored by more than 200 institutions should try to implement a postseason that includes 25 percent of the teams that meet the Division I standard in the sport. Final decisions on changes to the size of each sport’s postseason bracket would need to be approved by that sport’s governing body by January 2024 for implementation in the 2024-25 academic year.
  • The committee is also recommending the formation of sport-specific management committees. Each Division I sport that has a national championship will have its own entity, and these management committees will have decision-making power and the ability to move quickly without bureaucratic delays.
  • It is recommending a new requirement that all Division I schools provide medical coverage for athletics-related injuries for a minimum of two years following graduation or completion of athletics experience. The requirement would be part of a more “holistic” athlete benefits model. Another part of the new model would require schools to pay for athletes who were on full scholarships to get their degrees within 10 years of leaving school.
HBCUs March Madness

HBCUs do have a representative on the transformation committee — Norfolk State University President Dr. Javaune Adams-Gaston. 

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Currently a total of 23 HBCUs — 12 in the SWAC, eight in the MEAC and three in predominately white conferences — are currently in Division I. Neither the MEAC nor the SWAC have ever received multiple bids to the NCAA Tournament, meaning most years there are just two HBCUs in the field of 68. An increase in the overall field could mean more HBCUs. Or it could just be more of the status quo. 

Only time will tell. But in the mean time, vote in our poll.

Will NCAA changes mean more HBCUs in March Madness?
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