INDIANAPOLIS -- The NCAA will hold the inaugural 32-team Women's Basketball Invitation Tournament next spring on campus sites with the champion crowned April 3 in Indianapolis.
ESPN owns television broadcast rights, the NCAA said Tuesday. ESPN-plus will air preliminary-round games exclusively while Westwood One Sports will provide radio coverage of the semifinals and finals.
Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse will host the final fours of both the WBIT and the NIT, the men's tourney, in April. The men's championship game will be played April 4.
Like the NIT, the higher-seeded women's teams will host first-round games March 21, second-round games March 24 and quarterfinal games March 28. Regular-season conference champs that don't make the NCAA tournament will also receive automatic bids to the WBIT and the selection committee will use a variety of factors to determine at-large bids.
"The upcoming women's basketball season will be monumental for a number of reasons," NCAA vice president of women's basketball Lynn Holzman said in a statement. "The addition of the 32 additional postseason opportunities provided by the WBIT is a landmark moment for the game."
The selection committee consists of former coaches Ceal Barry, Brian Giorgis, Sue Guevara, Bernadette Locke-Mattox and Marsha Sharp; former college administrators Barbara Burke, Kelcey Roegiers and Janice Ruggiero.