By Carl Adamec
The NCAA announced Thursday that the NCAA Final Four will go to a Friday/Sunday format starting in 2017 while preliminary rounds will take place on a Friday through Monday scheduled starting in 2015.
The decision was made by the Division I Championships/Sports Management Cabinet.
The Friday/Sunday format for the Final Four was used previously from 1996-2002.
The Division I women’s basketball committee previously recommended the changes based on feedback from fans, who expressed displeasure with having to attend games on weeknights, the press release said. Committee and cabinet members believe the changes will increase attendance, improving the championship experience for participating student-athletes.
Currently, the first two weeks of the NCAA tournament are played Saturdays through Tuesdays.
Under the new structure, the first games of the tournament will take place on a Friday, with winners of those games meeting each other on Sunday; the other first-round games will take place the Saturday of that weekend, with those winners meeting each other on Monday. The same schedule will be followed during the regional round the next weekend, with the remaining 16 teams battling for spots in the Final Four.
Through 2016, the national semifinals of the Final Four will continue to be played on Sunday, followed by the championship game on Tuesday. The Sunday-Tuesday format has been in place since 2003.