In December, rumors surfaced that the NCAA was considering expanding its national basketball tournament from 65 teams to 96—and squeeze even more ad revenue out of the already lucrative televised games. Though this year's March Madness will remain relatively modest, fans and commentators—including those at the Wall Street Journal—haven't given up on their super-sizing dream. Would 96 be even sweeter? (Watch Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany share his thoughts)
Expanding March Madness would ruin it: This "awful idea" would dilute the tournament's quality and strain the already limited time that college athletes have to study," says Josh Alper in NBC Chicago. Plus, "just try fitting 96 teams on a sheet of paper for your office bracket."
"The NCAA tourney: From one shining moment to 96 tarnished gems"
A bigger tournament would derange fans—in a good way: Upping the team count to 96 would "give more quality teams a chance to prove themselves," says Darren Everson in the Wall Street Journal, and give basketball fans "an extra helping" of what they "love most about the event: the early rounds, the unpredictable festival of games that go on all day and create wild excitement all across the country."
"Why March Madness needs 96 teams"
Why stop at 96? There's no reason to fiddle with March Madness: It's "the most exciting and unique tournament in sports," says Alex Callos in Bleacher Report. But if the NCAA must make a change, why not add a second tournament—the same size as the traditional one—for the best teams from second-tier conferences, which typically don't send contenders to March Madness? "After all, aren't two shining moments better than one?"
"What if there were two Big Dances?"