NCAA Board Approves NIT Women’s Basketball Tournament, Votes To Revive NCAA-run Enlistment Academies

On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I board approved the reinstatement of the NCAA-certified summer basketball academies and recruiting events for high school boys, sources told CBS Sports. In addition, the establishment of a high school girls’ basketball academy event was also approved for the first time. The board also passed a proposal for the women’s college basketball tournament to hold a post-season minor tournament — a “NIT-wide tournament,” one source said — with a target start date of March 2024.

The NCAA Board of Directors must approve the spending of the millions of dollars that will come with that tournament. The Board of Directors will meet in person in Indianapolis on October 25. If funding is approved, it will be the first time that women’s basketball has competed in two major post-season tournaments.

The academies are still controversial in college basketball. In the summer of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA held its first boys’ basketball academies at four locations across the country. The guidance came as a recommendation from the Rice Committee. The academies – which in fact act as recruiting events – failed to attract many high end prospects. They also drew criticism from many basketball coaches who viewed NCAA-sponsored events as bland and an unnecessary addition to the hiring calendar. However, one source said this project remains an important directive for the NCAA.

They’ll be back in business in 2023. But instead of holding academies in four locations, the high school boys’ basketball academy will be in just one location with the girls in another. The Academies’ websites will be up for bids in the coming weeks.

“The NBA should have a presence this summer,” a source told CBS Sports. “There’s no NCAA Summer League or 3-on-3 tournament to keep college basketball in the picture. Kids see the G League and the Summer League and it’s (Dan) Gavitt’s way of keeping college basketball a little fit in the summer.”

On that note, another interesting idea is gathering momentum. Although it was not voted on by the DI Board on Wednesday, it could be put to a vote later this fall.

The Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee met Monday and Tuesday in Indianapolis. According to the sources, the committee discussed the possibility of college basketball teams playing exhibition games dedicated to television during the summer. Lots of details need to be worked out, but if a rule change is allowed, a rule change could enable men’s and women’s college basketball teams to stage two or perhaps as many as three casual games with the ability to sell tickets and provide nil opportunities for players in the heart of the summer.

There may also be an opportunity for teams to meet and conduct multi-team events for four or eight teams rather than a single standalone game.

“The commissioners talked about the need for something more important,” one of the commissioners told CBS Sports. “College basketball needs to create something more important in the summer.”

The topic was brought up during last week’s meeting of all 32 commissioners in Chicago. Securities and Exchange Commission Commissioner Greg Sankey noted how successful Kentucky’s 2022 TV trip to the Bahamas was in this regard. Schools can choose a number of things: 3v3 tournaments, special offers for players, skill competitions and more. NABC was also pushing for this idea.

“Every idea will be open to how to do that,” one commissioner told CBS Sports.

Another source told CBS Sports that senior NCAA officials support the idea, which came from NABC’s ad hoc committee on tackling the larger issues facing college basketball. There is a sense of urgency in getting this approved for the summer of 2023. Approval from the Division I and Board of Directors should come in the coming months.

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