When we tune into March Madness for the men and women’s NCAA basketball tournament, we’re used to the announcers and studio analysts playing up the host city of the Final Four. Will the number one overall seed be able to make it to Bloomington, Indiana, or will they get tripped up? Can the number 11 seed shock the world and qualify as a Final Four team in San Antonio? It’s a commonly used line in order to get fans excited, and thinking about which teams have staying power in the big dance.
There’s a chance in the near future that the destination city for men and women’s basketball teams will be one in the same. The NCAA is looking into selecting one host city and venue that will accommodate both Final Fours. It would be a large undertaking, but one that would certainly be a boon to the centralized location that was selected.
The topic has been brought up periodically over the years, but was revisited by an external committee reviewing gender equity issues. The 2021 NCAA tournament highlighted some of the difference in training facilities between male and female athletes, and a centralization of the Final Four site could in theory negate those imbalances for the game’s highest stage.
“Finding ways to address the gender equity issues that have come to exist through the years between the Division I Women’s and Men’s Basketball Championships is a priority, and we are dedicated to making impactful changes,” said Nina King, chair of the Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, and Duke University Athletic Director. Via NCAA.org
To be clear, any potential change to the sites of the men’s and women’s Final Four for the next several years are locked in, and would not be reneged due to this exploration. The 2022 Women’s Final Four is set to be held in Minneapolis, while the 2022 Men’s Final Four will be held in New Orleans.
If this idea is passed for the 2027 set of Final Fours or after, it would be interesting to see how the NCAA scheduled the games. Because there is one day off between Final Four games for both the men and women, they could play alternating days. Saturday and Monday might belong to the men, while the women would own Sunday and Tuesday, in the same arena.