WCC Presidents’ Council Approves Men’s Basketball Schedule Changes
Schedule adjustments one component of Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan approved last fall
SAN BRUNO, Calif. – As part of the previously-adopted Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan, the West Coast Conference Presidents' Council has approved changes to men’s basketball scheduling as well as the format of the men’s and women’s basketball championships. The scheduling component was passed by the Presidents during their regularly-scheduled March conference call.
“We are pleased to approve scheduling and other changes to WCC men’s basketball beginning next season,” said Rev. Paul Fitzgerald, S.J., President of the University of San Francisco and Chair, West Coast Conference Presidents' Council. "We are confident that these innovative adjustments will enhance access to the NCAA Tournament for the best programs of our marquee sport."
The scheduling component of the Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan was first discussed as a group in June 2017, when ESPN bracket expert Joe Lunardi met with the West Coast Conference head coaches and athletic directors. The group met about how to best work within the current RPI system to maximize opportunities to get the most NCAA tournament teams with the best possible seeds. Following that meeting and with endorsement from the head coaches, the West Coast Conference Basketball Operations Cabinet began to explore how to adjust the Conference schedule in future years while also ensuring all 10 schools schedule non-Conference games in a manner benefitting all 10 teams and the WCC as a whole.
Under the approved plan and beginning with the 2018-19 season, the West Coast Conference men’s basketball season will consist of 16 regular season games (eight home, eight away). Every institution will play seven WCC institutions twice, while playing one member at home and another away – based on approved criteria. Additionally, starting with the 2019-20 season, WCC men’s basketball programs will be required to compete in a multi-team event (MTE) each season, annually play more home games than away games, and schedule and play no more than two non-Division I opponents per season. In addition, the Conference must approve all “guarantee” games in which a WCC member is paid by an opponent to play at the opponent’s venue.
Also beginning next season, the men’s and women’s championship format will change, whereby seeds 7-10 will compete in the opening round, seeds 5-6 will first participate in the second round, seeds 3-4 will first participate in the third round, and the top two seeds will play their first game in the semifinal round. Both the men’s and women’s championships will again take place concurrently at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
“As the landscape changes and access to the NCAA Tournament becomes more challenging, we felt it was appropriate to make adjustments in the way we schedule both during Conference play and in the non-Conference portion of the season," said BYU head coach Dave Rose, chair of the WCC men’s basketball head coaches group. “Although it is unique for us to be playing fewer Conference games while other conferences are adding games to their schedule, the disparity in RPI from the top of our league to the bottom is larger than any other conference’s. We believe this approach will allow all 10 of our teams to schedule based on the current state of their program, and all 10 of us can go win more games – which will help everyone.”
Passed in the fall by the Presidents’ Council, the Men’s Basketball Enhancement Plan also includes changes to NCAA academic-based revenue distribution, men’s basketball unit revenue distribution, as well as an adjustment to the licensing of future Conference broadcast rights.
About the West Coast Conference
The West Coast Conference was formed in 1952 and has evolved and grown to become a nationally recognized and competitive force in Division I intercollegiate athletics, with 15 conference-sponsored sports: baseball, men's and women's basketball, women’s beach volleyball, men's and women's cross country, men's and women's golf, women's rowing, men's and women's soccer, softball, men's and women's tennis and women's volleyball. The WCC is characterized by the stability of its membership and its unique emphasis on combining excellence in athletics with excellence in academics. For more information, visit WCCsports.com or follow the West Coast Conference on Twitter @WCCsports.