INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA plans to expand the men's basketball tournament from 65 to 68 teams beginning next year and announced a new, $10.8 billion broadcasting deal with CBS and Turner Broadcasting on Thursday that will allow every game to be shown live for the first time.
"This is an important day for intercollegiate athletics and the 400,000 student-athletes who compete in NCAA sports," interim NCAA president Jim Isch said. "This agreement will provide on average more than $740 million annually to our conferences and member schools."
The men's tournament last expanded in 2001, adding one team to the 64-team field that was set in 1985. Talk of tweaking March Madness again generated a lot of chatter from fans worried about watering down the competition and those fearing the additional bracket guesswork involved in predicting a winner.
Less than four weeks ago, turning the NCAA's signature event into a 80- or even a 96-team field seemed like all but a done deal.