An approval by the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee has paved the way for the Final Four to move to a Friday-Sunday format as early as 2015. The Final Four is currently operating in a Sunday-Tuesday format.
The committee, which met in Indianapolis this week, also approved the Top 16 seeds hosting first- and second-round games in 2015. Regionals will be played at neutral sites.
Games played over the first two weekends next year will be held in Friday-Sunday and Saturday-Monday formats.
All of the recommended changes by the committee must be approved by the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet.
The Women’s Final Four will still be held on the same weekend as the Men’s Final Four. The move to a Friday-Sunday format is viewed as more fan friendly because the tournament will end on a weekend and fans will not have to take three days off from work to attend.
The committee decided against moving the Women’s Final Four to the weekend following the Men’s Final Four. And it will ask representatives from Division II and Division III for input on the idea of a holding a combined championship during the same weekend as the 2016 Women’s Final Four in Indianapolis.
“It was a difficult decision for us,’’ Division I Women’s Basketball Committee chair Carolayne Henry said. “The atmosphere on the Final Four weekend is something we can continue to capitalize on. As we grow, we can look to see if we want to be a stand-alone entity. For now, we want to take advantage of the excitement around basketball that takes place on that weekend.’’