The NCAA has announced that it will expand the NCAA men’s basketball tournament field to 68 teams beginning in 2011.
The field expansion was announced along with the NCAA’s new $10.8 billion television and wireless rights deal with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting that will last through 2024.
As part of the deal, all NCAA Tournament games will be shown live on CBS and Turner Broadcasting’s family of networks. Games will be shown on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.
CBS will broadcast the NCAA regionals and Final Four through 2015. After that, Final Four broadcasts will be alternated between CBS and Turner.
The NCAA provided no details on how a 68-team field would be structured.
The field expands by just three teams after speculation was rampant that the NCAA would expand to 96 teams. Many college basketball observers thought it was a foregone conclusion. The expansion to 96 teams was supported by the Missouri Valley Conference, among others.
See Friday’s Tribune-Star and tribstar.com for complete coverage.