Big 12 News

Brett Yormark Says Big 12 Coaches Favor of NCAA Tournament Expansion

Jul 12, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark speaks to the press during Big 12 football media day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The NCAA Basketball Tournament last expanded to 68 teams in 2011, when four additional schools were added to the format to provide play-in games. Those additions have been incredibly successful, as the “First Four” games have been entertaining and often provide teams that make mini-runs in the tournament.

However, there’s talk that the field of 68 could be due for further expansion in the near future, as decision-makers are considering expanding it to as many as 80 teams.


Expansion of the tournament field has become a hot topic since the latest round of conference realignment, as the Pac-12 was absorbed by the other Power Conferences. The updated makeup of the conference will provide further competition for schools in the Power Four conferences, especially with so many auto-bids going to smaller conferences.

“We are giving away highly competitive opportunities for automatic qualifiers [from smaller leagues],” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey told ESPN, “and I think that pressure is going to rise as we have more competitive basketball leagues at the top end because of expansion.”


Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark is in support of tournament expansion as well and said as much recently.

“I haven’t thought about the number, but I’m open to 76,” Yormark said.

He also says the coaches in his league are unified in agreement about expanding the tournament field.

“I think, in theory, they’re for expansion,” Yormark said earlier this month, “But what does that number look like? The devil is in the details.”

Having 16 college basketball coaches agree about anything seems unlikely, especially when it comes to changing the format of the NCAA Tournament. However, giving Big 12 teams more chances to make the field is a win for everyone in the conference.

Will we see expansion at the end of the day? If the commissioners and coaches are all in agreement, it seems it would just be a matter of time.

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